Poland: Abortion rights must apply to Ukrainian refugees, says UNHCR

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WARSAW (Reuters) – Ukrainian women who have fled to Poland to escape war should be able to enjoy internationally recognized rights, such as the right to abortion, severely restricted by Warsaw, a UN High Commissioner official said on Friday. for Refugees (UNHCR).

Poland only allows abortion since 2020 in cases of rape or incest, or when the life and health of the mother is considered to be in danger.

Human rights activists have raised concerns about the hardships Ukrainian women who may have been victims of rape could face, as the UN has reported numerous allegations of rape and sexual violence attributed to Russian forces.

“There are particular policies that we believe fall short of international standards,” Gillian Triggs, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, told a press briefing.

“(Victims of sexual violence) need counseling and assistance. In some cases they will need abortions. We will raise this issue (…) with the (Polish) government,” she said. added.

Gillian Triggs said UNHCR would accompany women who need an abortion to ensure they can do so in Poland or elsewhere.

A Polish government spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Report by Anna Koper; French version Elena Vardon)

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