International and regional actors meet to express solidarity with Polish Commissioner for Human Right
International and regional actors met with the office of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Adam Bodnar, on Monday, 25 March in Warsaw, expressing their solidarity and support in light of the recent civil action brought against the Commissioner by a public television station.
At the meeting were representatives of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), the Council of Europe, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) and the International Ombudsman Institute.
They expressed a commitment to act in support of the Commissioner, who has consistently spoken up for the protection of the rule of law and judicial independence in Poland throughout his mandate.
Participants raised their concern that the lawsuit was filed against the Commissioner as a private individual for a statement made in his professional capacity, making reference to the joint statement in February by ENNHRI and GANHRI, which pointed out that such civil action is inconsistent with Poland’s international commitments to protect institutional independence of the Commissioner who has a constitutional mandate to speak up for human rights in Poland. Under the UN Paris Principles, the decision-making body and staff of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), such as the Commissioner’s office, must have functional immunity.
There was also emphasis placed on the importance of additional budget being provided for the Commissioner’s office to correspond to its additional mandate to manage exceptional complaints. An adequate budget was underlined as crucial for the effective fulfillment of the Commissioner’s mandate and is a requirement under the Paris Principles.