STANOWISKA I WYSTĄPIENIA
14 października 2013
Sixty–Eight Session of the General Assembly
Third Committee: Advancement of women, Agenda item 28
Statement by H.E. Agnieszka KOZŁOWSKA-RAJEWICZ , Polish Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment
New York, October 14th, 2013
Poland aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
As our delegation is taking the floor for the first time during this session we would like to congratulate you Mr. Chair as well as all the bureau members upon their election.
Poland is a party to all major international instruments on human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. We are also dedicated to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the Programme of Action of the (Cairo) International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the key actions for its further implementation. We support the work of the UN bodies striving to achieve progress in the field of women’s empowerment and gender equality. We are proud contributors to the UNFPA and its campaign to end fistula.
It is our strong belief that women have a crucial role to play in our societies. Women have visibly and boldly stepped up to shape the future of their countries, societies and families and to guarantee that civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are enjoyed by all, free from fear and violence. These rights equally belong to women themselves. We will continue to work in cooperation with all partners to make these rights a reality for everyone. International agreements provide a standard for which we should aim and guidelines on how we should achieve it. However not all significant issues are specifically addressed in international instruments.
In the absence of any internationally recognised or agreed definition of the parameters of sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) or sexual and reproductive health services (SRHS), States are free to define these notions under national law. In this context, Poland wishes to put on record, for the purpose of this and future meetings held in the framework of the UNGA, its committees, the ECOSOC and other UN bodies, that it objects to any interpretation of references to SRHR/SRHS used in international documents as including abortion on demand.
This position stems from internal legal regulations. Polish law allows for abortion in three cases: when the life or health of the mother is endangered, when the fetus is severely malformed or unviable, or when the pregnancy is the result of a crime.
At the same time – and consistent with our commitment to the principles outlined in the ICPD - Poland does not seek to influence decisions taken by other national governments on this issue.
Let me reiterate Poland’s strong commitment to a rights-based approach to gender equality and to women’s empowerment.
In this context, the achievement of universal access to reproductive health is a key priority for Poland’s development programme. It is absolutely crucial that all women, everywhere, have access to safe, affordable and appropriate methods of family planning. Poland is fully dedicated to improving the lives of all women around the world and fully committed to the effective realization of womens’ human rights.
Over the past couple of years Poland has introduced numerous initiatives aiming at improvement in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Women have obtained access to free and high quality sexual and reproductive health care services defined by law, which include care for the woman and the baby during pregnancy and after birth. The National Health Program lists the improvement in health care for mother, newborn and child as one of its main operational objectives. The Polish government sponsors campaigns promoting knowledge and underlining the importance of early detection in cases of cervical and breast cancers. Recently, for the first time in Polish history, in vitro fertilization services are to be financed from public resources in accordance with the new programme introduced by the Ministry of Health.
I would like to stress that Poland has always been and shall remain a strong advocate of the human rights of women also in the area of sexual and reproductive health.
Thank you for your attention.