For the first time UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examined the report of the Polish government on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Sylwia Spurek in the opening statement said:
We express our firm opposition to the words used by Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defence, in an interview that was broadcast by one of TV channels. The words concerned the participants of the Equality March held on 11 August 2018 in the streets of Poznań. The minister’s statement might be considered an expression of hate speech on the grounds of sexual orientation, used in relation to LGBT persons, says a statement of CHR Adam Bodnar and Deputy CHR for Equal Treatment Sylwia Spurek.
Despite his objections to the parliamentary acts on the Supreme Court, the Commissioner for Human Rights filed the first extraordinary complaint to the Supreme Court under the amended regulations. The complaint concerns a family in relation to which, over several years, courts issued two contradictory decisions with regard to succession of property. The CHR emphasized that the constitutional rights of the persons concerned have been violated, as they found themselves in a situation which should not have taken place in a democratic state based on the rule of law.
As former Commissioners for Human Rights we express our opposition to the instrumental treatment of human rights in the national political struggle. We consider disturbing and reprehensible the attempts made to discredit the work and the person of Adam Bodnar, 7th term Commissioner for Human Rights, made by means of a dissenting opinion of the Constitutional Tribunal, a measure used improperly and in bad faith, unprofessionally and in violation of good practice.
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.
Firstly, only specialists know what “a resolution of 7 judges” is. Secondly, only specialists understand its legal significance and know how it differs from a court’s ordinary ruling or judgment.
The regulations on cyclical assemblies should be removed from the Polish legislation as they seriously limit the constitutional freedom of assembly, believes the Commissioner for Human Rights. This is his opinion regarding the draft bill amending the Act on Assemblies, submitted by the PO senators.
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.
European politicians must look beyond the next month or year. Everything possible must be done in order to save the independence of Poland’s Supreme Court.
- Without independent courts, there can be no appropriate protection of civil rights and freedoms in Poland, said CHR Adam Bodnar after his meeting with Frans Timmermans. The Commissioner presented his opinion on the reform of the Polish judiciary system to the First Vice-President of the European Commission and concluded that it poses a risk to the independence of the judiciary and the protection of civil rights and freedoms.