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.
„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.
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.
The tone of many public statements in our country has reached the level of political and cultural war. Some words and expressions are used which violate human dignity and divide citizens into different categories.
On Sunday, 2 April 2017, 20 years have passed since the adoption of the current text of the Constitution. On that occasion, the CHR Office organized meetings and discussions open to the general public, e.g. with prof. Ewa Łętowska, the first Polish Commissioner for Human Rights and with prof. Jerzy Ciemniewski, one of the authors of the current Constitution.
"A judge and the Constitution: the crisis in the Constitutional Tribunal’s work, and distributed control of the law’s consistence with the Constitution” was the title of the conference, held on 3 March in Katowice. The event was attended by deputy CHR Stanisław Trociuk.
„Protection of human rights in times of constitutional crisis in Poland” is the title of the lecture delivered by dr. Adam Bodnar at the Albert Ludwik University in Freiburg. The meeting was organised by Arbeitkreis Kritischer Juristen und Juristinnen Freiburg - student's association of the Law Faculty in Freiburg.
On 15 January, the 25th Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was held. This year, the income from the action will support life-saving and healthcare equipment at general pediatric wards, and will contribute to decent health care for seniors.
The Commissioner for Human Rights together with the CHR Office employees developed a ranking of problems which, in 2016, posed the greatest threats from the point of view of the respect for human rights and civil rights in our country. The Commissioner also indicated issues on which clear progress has been achieved or positive changes have been announced.
In his special statement before the Senate, the CHR warned that the Bill on Assemblies currently drafted by the Parliament does not meet the standards of a democratic state and the standards of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Adam Bodnar sent letters to the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria Maya Manolova and the Ambassador of Bulgaria to Poland Emil Savov Yalnazov in connection with the attack on human rights defender Krassimir Kanev. He expressed his sorrow and support for the activities of Mr. Kanev.
One of the conclusions of Adam Bodnar’s visit to London, held as a result of the attacks on Poles living in the UK, is that cooperation between the UK and Poland in the field of education should be strengthened. The Commissioner has forwarded an letter on the matter to the Minister of Education.
Dr. Adam Bodnar sent a letter of condolence on death of Mikael Danielyan to the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia. Mikael Danielyan was the President of Armenian “Helsinki Association” and prominent human rights activist.
The Constitutional Tribunal has forwarded to the Commissioner for Human Rights a copy of the judgement of 11 August on the so-called Constitutional Tribunal “improvement” act of 22 July 2016, together with the statement of reasons for the judgement and the dissenting opinions.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) join the Council of Europe, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Network of European National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) in a statement