Stopping Ordo Iuris at the ECHR
April 5, 2021
Over 123,008 Europeans, including us, helped protect our most basic rights. We took action and our signatures stood in the way of a fundamentalist Catholic group called Ordo Iuris.
For most people, being religious means being kind to their neighbour. But not for Ordo Iuris. Within the Catholic community, this small minority group takes religion to extremes that negate all kindness and cause many people, especially women, to suffer.
Ordo Iuris are responsible for banning abortion and discrimination against LGBTQ people and groups in Poland. Disguised as a think-tank, Ordo Iuris produce draft bills and lobby governments. In Poland they have people in the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the official advisory body to the President and more.
When Aleksander Stępkowski, Ordo Iuris' founder, ran for judge in the European Court of Human Rights – the court we can all go to for justice if our country fails to protect human rights – we had to speak up.
Together with the Polish Women's Strike, we collected 123,008 voices of opposition from across Europe in just a few days. We shared them with all the committee members before they decided who to appoint for this important position. The Polish Women's Strike activists also called the committee members and followed up to explain the risks.
On Friday 9th April, the committee appointing the new judges rejected the controversial nomination of Aleksander Stępkowski, as well as all the other Polish candidates.
Now the Polish government will have to present new candidates for this role – this is more than we asked for! And a strong message to a government that has been rolling back human rights for years.
We have shown numerous times that human rights, women’s rights, and minority rights are at the core of what our community fights for. Together, we can stop those who systematically plot to dismantle our rights from taking over our courts and institutions.