Tag Archives: Poland

Israeli Government Accused of ‘Assassinating Democracy’ With Proposed Judiciary Overhaul

“It is not necessary to send the Proud Boys to storm the Capitol to attempt a coup,” said one former Israeli ambassador. “Abusing a tiny legislative majority to crush the judiciary and the nature of Israel’s democracy is also a coup.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-5-2023 by Common Dreams

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin, seen here in 2008, has proposed sweeping judiciary reforms widely condemned in his country and beyond. Photo: Reuven Kapuchinski,/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Israeli liberals and critics around the world sounded the alarm Thursday over a plan by Israel’s new far-right government to dramatically limit the power of the country’s judiciary, in part by allowing a simple parliamentary majority to overturn Supreme Court rulings.

On Wednesday, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin—a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party—released a set of proposals he said were aimed at “strengthening democracy, rehabilitating governance, restoring faith in the judicial system, and rebalancing the three branches of government.” Continue reading

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Calls to ‘Stop the Deal’ as US Military Contractor Moves to Buy NSO Group

“NSO Group should not be rewarded for its facilitation of human rights violations and dangerous business practices with a lucrative offer from a U.S. defense contractor,” said one campaigner.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: NSO Group/Facebook

Digital rights advocates sounded the alarm on Tuesday following reports that U.S. military contractor L3Harris Tech plans to acquire NSO Group, a private Israeli firm widely condemned for selling surveillance technology to repressive governments across the globe.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to crack down on dissidents and journalists, worsening “human rights abuses around the world, from Palestine to El Salvador to Poland,” advocacy group Access Now said in a statement urging U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to “stop the deal.” Continue reading

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Poland Establishes ‘Terrifying’ Pregnancy Register After Banning Almost All Abortions

“Another violent attack on sexual and reproductive rights in Poland,” said a progressive lawmaker.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 24.10.2020 Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A new government database tracking people’s pregnancies in Poland is sparking fears that medical data will be used to prosecute women who obtain abortion care in other countries or by getting abortion pills through the mail, and potentially to target women who have miscarriages.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski approved an ordinance last Friday expanding the kind of information that can be stored in a central database on patients, including allergies, blood type, and pregnancy status. Continue reading

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‘We need to take an unusual step’: a Polish feminist’s message to her US sisters

I’ve seen what a draconian abortion law can do in Poland. Here is what I think we should do

By Klementyna Suchanow  Published 5-12-2022 by openDemocracy

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 10-24-2020. Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

I co-founded the Polish Women’s Strike, which led a series of anti-government demonstrations following the almost-total outlawing of abortion in 2020. I have spent six years of my life protesting attempts to restrict women’s access to it and to defend democracy. That’s why nothing surprises me about the Roe v Wade situation in the United States. In fact, there is a clear similarity: public opinion says one thing, while a group of zealots forces an entire nation to do the opposite.

Poland has had restrictive laws in place since 1993, with abortion only legally available in cases of rape and incest, threat to the mother’s life, or severe foetal abnormality. After an unsuccessful attempt to further restrict abortion in the Polish Sejm (the lower house of the country’s parliament) in October 2016, a law banning the abortion of non-viable foetuses finally came into force on 22 October 2020. It was imposed by the Constitutional Tribunal, an institution whose independence and legality is itself in question. The new law means that women are now forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to a dead foetus. Continue reading

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‘Fox News Model’ Fomenting Divisions Within Democratic Societies, Global Watchdog Warns

“The ‘Fox News-ization’ of the media poses a fatal danger for democracies because it undermines the basis of civil harmony and tolerant public debate,” said the leader of Reporters Without Borders.

By Kenny Stancil   Published 5-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Members of Truth Tuesdays and Rise and Resist gathered at the first weekly “Fox Lies Democracy Dies” protest outside the NewsCorp Building in New York City on November 23, 2021. Photo: Diane Greene Lent/flickr/CC

A global press freedom watchdog group warned Tuesday in its annual report that media polarization within and between countries—driven by the rapid spread of right-wing disinformation on social media and the proliferation of pro-authoritarian propaganda—is “fueling increased tension” and escalating the likelihood of violence.

The 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) assesses the state of journalism around the globe. The 2022 edition details the “disastrous effects of news and information chaos”—the product of “a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.” Continue reading

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Mass Anti-War Protests Held Across Europe as Russia’s Assault Continues

In addition to protests in Berlin and London, people took to the streets in occupied Ukrainian cities and in Moscow, despite the threat of arrest.

By Jake Johnson  Published 3-13-2022 by Common Dreams

On Sunday across Russia, police detained 866 people in 37 cities for taking part in anti-war protests. These numbers are not final and likely to increase further Photo: Alex Kokcharov/Twitter

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to join anti-war demonstrations across Europe on Sunday as Russia continued its deadly assault on Ukraine, bombarding major cities and intensifying a humanitarian crisis that is having reverberating effects worldwide.

In addition to protests in Berlin, London, Warsaw, and Madrid—where participants carried signs and banners that read “Stop the War” and “Peace and Solidarity for the People in Ukraine”—demonstrations sprang up on a smaller scale in occupied Ukrainian cities and in Moscow, despite the threat of arrest and police brutality. Continue reading

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A wave of grassroots humanitarianism is supporting millions of Ukrainian refugees

Women offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay in Berlin on Mar. 4, 2022.
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University

Along the Poland-Ukraine border, Polish volunteers have been driving Ukrainian refugees to local train stations, or directly to cities like Warsaw.

Other Poles are doing their volunteer work online or at train stations and airports, matching Ukrainian refugees with perhaps the most generous volunteers of all: those who are hosting some of the more than 2 million Ukrainians had fled their beseiged country, in their own homes.

The largest refugee flow in Europe since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s – has elicited an enormous volunteer humanitarian effort in Europe, particularly in Poland, as well as in Germany, Moldova and Romania. Continue reading

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‘Disgraceful’: Supreme Court Sides With Hiding CIA Torture

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 3-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators hold a sign that says “Torture Is Wrong” at a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. (Photo: takomabibelot/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Thursday sharply condemned the Supreme Court’s decision that the U.S. government can block the testimony of two former Central Intelligence Agency contractors for a Polish criminal investigation into the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee.

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites,” tweeted Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “It’s really a disgraceful abdication of responsibility.” Continue reading

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The Cold War, modern Ukraine and the spread of democracy in the former Soviet bloc countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Michael De Groot, Indiana University

As Russia masses forces and equipment on Ukraine’s border, international tensions over a possible invasion intensify almost daily. Ukraine has emerged as ground zero of what some pundits have dubbed a new Cold War between Russia and the West.

In my view as a Cold War historian, this comparison distorts the Cold War and misrepresents the stakes of the current crisis.

Yet reviewing the Cold War is important because its legacy shapes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy toward Ukraine. Continue reading

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Why learning about gender diversity is urgent

To avoid bigotry and discrimination, we must learn about the broad human spectrum of gender-diverse experiences, now and in the past

By Chrissy Stroop.  Published 12-23-2021 by openDemocracy

Imae: Sonzal Welfare Trust/Facebook

This week, openDemocracy published a story about Indian-administered Kashmir’s transgender community. The article focused on the longstanding cultural role that transfeminine Kashmiris have played (and still play) as matchmakers and wedding performers, as well as on the bullying and marginalisation that they experience, in most cases beginning with their own families.

The article ends on a note of hope, observing that living as their authentic selves outside a performance context is becoming a realistic option for some young transwomen, and quoting an Islamic cleric who is opposed to anti-trans discrimination. Continue reading

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