Newsletter from 1st May to 9th May 2016
“It is a holiday that stresses the importance of the Consitution for regulating our social life, the relation between an individual and a state. It is a holiday which determines why the citizens must be equal before law, why everyone must obey constitution,” said the Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, in a special recording for the Anniversary of the Constitution of 3rd May.
The Commissioner for Human Rights met the papal nuncio in Poland, His Excellency archbishop Celestino Migliore. The conversation concerned e.g. actions for the homeless and help provided by the Church, poverty, exclusion, as well as crimes motivated by hatred and prejudices [more].
New act on public prosecutors allows for treating prosecutors in a way that diminishes all of previous professional achievements. The reorganisation of prosecution became a basis for a wholly arbitrary employee verification because the act does not contain any criteria for its execution. The Commissioner submitted an application to the Constitutional Tribunal [more].
“We cannot reduce the debate to whether we support terrorists or not. The debate about the draft of the anti-terrorist act should be serious, and public opinion ought to know what is the concern of the changes. We must speak”, said Adam Bodnar when summing up a consultation meeting concerning the draft act [report, first conclusions and movie clip with comments from participants].
The Commissioner submitted a request to the Constituional Tribunal concerning the rules of using evidence obtained by operational control. According to the Commissioner, they infringe such constitutional rights and freedoms as a right to privacy, communication secrecy and inviolatability of a home.
A person who experiences violence in family may go to court to oblige the perpetrator to leave the home that they both occupy. From the cases examined in the office of the Commissioner it appears however that a fast ending to court proceedings in these matters is very hard to achieve in practice. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice and asked whether the Ministry intends to undertake activities which would improve the courses of such proceedings [more].
People who were punished with a fine in penalty notice proceedings indicate in their complaints to the Commissioner the limited possibilites of revoking a penalty notice. Despite introducing changes to provisions in accordance with the Commissioner’s requests, the currently binding legal situation still poses objections. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice to expand a list of reasons for the revocation of afinal fine and a possibility for claiming compensation in case of its revocation [more].
“Changes to the Constitution may be far-reaching - I propose these which increase the scope of rights and freedoms, but a possibility in itself does not mean that we should change the Constitution at this moment,” said Adam Bodnar during a debate organised by the Independent Student Association of the University of Warsaw [more].
The Commissioner receives many complaints from agricultural co-operatives concerning the reduction of uniform area payments. Current legal situation does not take into account big agricultural entities which are granted such a reduction, especially the special character of agricultural co-operatives. The Commissioner directed in this case a speech to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development [more]
The Supreme Administrative Court of Poland registered under the file no. II OPS 1/16 a legal concept presented to the Commissioner for consideration. The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling will explain whether construction works and objects, the realisation of which does not require building permit or notification obligation, are subjected to construction supervision in the aspect of their conformity with construction law, including technical and constructon provisions [more].
In connection with works on a draft of the act on certified auditors, the Commissioner decided to present the Minister of Finance the most important requests contained in his earlier addresses concerning this matter [more].
The Commissioner receives complaints concerning subsidies which are granted to people who use land illegally. The adopted legal solutions are not sufficient in the Commissioner’s view. This is why the Commissioner addressed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development about the change of provisions in a way that would enable the Agency for Restructuring and Modernising of Agriculture to verify a possession of agricultural land [more].
Citizens’ complaints indicate that the applicable rules of managing municipal waste are in need of change. Objections concern a flat-rate fee for managing muncipal waste for the owners of real property used for part of the year for tourism purposes. Charges for municipal waste increased several times. The Commissioner informs the Minister of Environment about the problem of owners of such real property in a speech [more].
During the meeting of the Commissioner with the representatives of human rights from the Provincial Police headquarters, the Central Investigative Office of Police, police schools and the KGP Centre of Searching for Missing People ethics of searching for missing people was discussed. Representatives of the ITAKA non-profit also took part in the meeting [more].
Foreign students who study in Poland as part of the Erasmus+ programme talked with Adam Bodnar about the atmosphere that surrouns them in our country. The Commissioner organised this meeting after he learnt during a regional meeting in Konin about attacks on foreign students [more].
“The decision about the liquidation of the Council is inexplicable and may be negatively received also internationally,” the Commissiioner commented on the liquidation of the Council on the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance Related to Them. The Commissioner’s statement may be found at the website rpo.gov.pl.
The Commissioner presented to the Government Plenipotentiary on Civil Society and Equal Treatment an assessment of effectiveness of regulations contained in the act on equal treatment. He also expressed hope that the cooperation of both institutions in the scope of preventing and combtating discrimination may lead to the popularisation of knowledge on applicable anti-discriminatory provisions [more].
Adam Bodnar met with Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz, Ph.D., a member of the European Parliament and the Governemnt Plenipotentiary on Equal Treatment from 2011 to 2014. The conversation concerned human rights, discrimination prevention, promoting principles of equal treatment, and challanges which the European Parliament needs to face.
In the address to the Minister of Education, the Commissioner presented recommendations contained in the report entitled „Accessibility of religion lessons of minority faiths and ethics lessons in the system of school education” . The Commissioner asked for their analysis and consideration of an amendment act on applicable provisions in this scope [more].
A four months pregnant woman dismiessed from professional military service addressed the Commissioner. When the Commissioner examined this case, he recognised that current provisions do not guarantee female soldiers a sufficient protection and addressed the Minister of National Defence. Antoni Macierewicz admitted in his response that it is necessary to develop additional solutions and proposed an amendment act in this scope [more].
Children and teenages with a serious mental disability function in fact outside the educational system, even though the state’s constitutional obligation is to provide all citizens with a universal and equal access to education. Mentally disabled children do not have a status of students and during lessons there is no division into age groups or particular educational stages. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Education to consider a poential change of provisions in this scope [more].
The Commissioner joined the action Envelope of life in Slask. Its purpose is to help elderly or ill people, who because of their health cannot always provide full information to rescue services [more].
Adam Bodnar was a guest during the second day of the “Elderly Citizen” Congress, which was organised for the fifth time in Park Slaski. He said that seniors, also those whose elderly age means limitations and illness, are as entitled as other people to decide about themselves, to independent life and to be included in social environment [more].
The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy about the changes to provisions pursuant to which private nursing homes operate to not allow for a repeat of publicised cases of violations of rights of the elderly, ill and disabled people who reside there [more].
To celebrate the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, invites for a common action entitled “For old age ours and yours”. Creating a strong group of senioral and civic organisation as well as active residents will help to inform elderly people about the planned Convention and to include their voice in a wider debate. [information and a form facilitating notifying about your participation].
After the Commissioner’s request, the District Court in Gdansk resumed proceedings in the case of Mr. Patryk. He is one of the people whom the employees of the Office of the Commissioner reached. As a result of an investigation, they determined that people with mental or intellectual disability who should not be in prisons do reside there [more].
The rules of contacting an attorney or a legal adviser for all detained should be uniform, clear and precise. This includes also a regulation of telephone conversations of the detained with an attorney. Accessible information conveyed by police officers is of basic importance when a person is detained. The Commissioner addressed the attention of the Minister of Justice and the Plenipotentiary of the Chief Commander of Police on the Protection of Human Rights towards this issue.
“A role of the Commissioner for Human Rights in a democratic state of law” was a title of the lecture that Adam Bodnar delivered at the Faculty of Political Science of the Maria Curie-Sklodowska’s University in Lublin. During the visit to the Lubelskie Province, the Commissioner also met with police officers, with whom he talked about the necessity to prevent tortures, as well as inhumane or degrading treatment of people deprived of freedom.
On 9th May, two employees of the Panel for Executing Punishments and the Deputy of the Commissioner, Krzysztof Olkowicz, examined complaints in the Remand Centre in Lodz, which were received at the Office of the Commisioner from this penitentiary unit [more].
A Nationwide Academic Conference entitled “A status of a mentally ill person in Polish law” was held at the Jagiellonian University on 7th May. The conference, which was organised by an Academic Circle of the Medical Law of the Jagiellonian University, gathered an extraordinary panel: psychiatrists, lawyers - practicing and academic lecturers, law students, commissioners for patients’ rights in psychiatric hospitals. Patients from one of Cracow’s psychiatric hospital were also present in the room, together with their carer [more].
The Commissioner again addressed the General Director of Prison Service about the situation of people deprived of freedom with hepatitis C. In the Commissioner’s view, the information received until today about a treatment of this group of people deprived of freedom is not sufficient [more].
The Commissioner lodged an appeal in the case of Mr. Stanislaw, who was released from a psychiatric facility after 8 years. To justify the decision about discharge, the court mentioned the positive assessment of the patient’s mental condition and that his action is no longer a crime, but an offence (theft of 7 packages of coffee). Despite the release of Mr. Stanislaw from a psychiatric hospital, the district court’s decision to place him there is still in force. The Commissioner applied for a revocation of the decision and a cancellation of proceedings [more].
On 29th April, an employee of the Office of the Commissioner participated in Olsztyn Penitentiary Conference entitled “Contemporary penitentiary systems”, which was organised by the Department of International Public Law of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn and the Academic Club of International Penitentiary Policy. The Conference was devoted to i.a. the problems of the intellectually disabled in penitentiary facilities and dangerous people deprived of freedom. Ewelina Brzostymowska from the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights delivered a lecture entitled “The Commissioner’s activity concerning dangerous people deprived of freedom”.