Dr. Adam Bodnar delivered a lecture on various developments in Poland’s constitutional situation, and their potential implications for the country's relation with the European Union. The lecture was a part of the seminar organized by Sieps – Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies.
From 19 until 21 September 2018, a delegation of the LIBE Committee visited Warsaw to examine the rule of law situation in Poland. In follow-up to that mission, LIBE Coordinators decided to hold a public hearing with external experts and stakeholders during the LIBE Committee meeting of 20 November 2018 in Brussels.
The CHR wrote a letter to the chairman of the National Electoral Commission in support of citizens who could not vote on 21 October. He noted that local offices were not prepared for such a large number of incoming online applications for entry in the electoral registers, and this undermined the confidence in the state governed by law.
The Supreme Court is usually invisible to citizens. On daily basis, an average citizen underestimates the Supreme Court’s important role in the development of the legislative system. Yet, let us look at the Supreme Court’s recent resolution (of 20 June 2018) concerning mortgage loans denominated in Swiss francs.
The Commissioner withdrew from the Constitutional Tribunal his motion regarding the Act of 10 June 2017 on Counter-Terrorism Measures. As the reason, he indicated the change of the formerly determined composition of the Constitutional Tribunal’s adjudicating panel and the fact that the current panel includes three persons not entitled to adjudicate in the Tribunal.
Here in Poland, we are headed into a period of darkness when it comes to legal guarantees, the role of the constitution and the sanctity of EU treaties. Hope is slowly vanishing. We can only hope that — being deprived of institutional guarantees of independence — individual judges will be strong enough to safeguard their own independence in their judicial decision-making.
The Commissioner for Human Rights and German Institute for Human Rights organized the joint workshop on protection of human rights of older persons which will take place on 7th March, in the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Warsaw.
The Congress, organized by the Commissioner for Human Rights to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the institution of independent ombudsman in Poland, was held on 8-9 December in Warsaw. It consisted of 36 panels on key topics relating to human rights.
The Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that the regulations which allow so-called eviction to the street of persons living in uniformed service members’ apartments are inconsistent with the Constitution. The ruling is the CHR’s major success in the fight for strengthening the protection of the rights of tenants.
In the Czech city of Brno, an annual V4 meeting was held of ombudspersons from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In the adopted declaration "Human Rights for Everyone", the Visegrad Group ombudspersons emphasized their common goals and values, as well as the significance of the institution of ombudsman maintaining independence of the authorities.
The situation with the Supreme Court is a bit as if here, at the Przystanek Woodstock, Jurek Owsiak tried to determine what should be happening at the festival, said Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar while speaking with judge Jarosław Gwizdak during the “Academy of Truly Fine Arts” at the 23rd edition of the Przystanek Woodstock festival held in Kostrzyń nad Odrą.
„I believe that the recently generated great energy of the citizens may also be used to control staffing decisions in the judiciary sector at every level: the appointments of judges, court presidents, heads of court departments, spokespersons, etc. What should be ensured is the transparency of procedures, assessment of qualifications of candidates, explanations of unclear decision.
Adam Bodnar was present throughout the parliamentary sessions devoted to the work on the bills on courts. He tried to explain the objections and indicated the threats to the rights of ordinary people, caused by the reform which was proceeded hastily, without consultations, and which covered three bills: on Common Courts, on the National Council of the Judiciary and on the Supreme Court.
The Government Plenipotentiary for Civil Society, appointed in 2016, was expected to draw up a National Programme for Civil Society Development Support, to provide a basis for further works, including institutional solutions. However, the Programme was not drawn up, and the government submitted a proposal of establishing a new institution, the National Freedom Institute.
The 8th Session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing took place on 5-7 July in UN Headquaters in New York City. That was the first time when National Human Rights Institution were granted the right to speak during UN meetings.
The system of free legal aid, introduced in early 2016, already requires changes. It turned out that in practice, the aid was used only by a low number of people. Often, persons in need of such aid were not eligible for it as they did not meet the criteria set out in the relevant Act of Parliament.