Godło RP

Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 1-7 October 2018

MAIN MATTERS

The CHR has appealed against the decision to discontinue the investigation concerning e.g. the propagation of racism and the fascist system during the March of Remembrance of the Expulsed Soldiers in Hajnówka in February 2018. Adam Bodnar pointed to mistakes and selective evaluation of events, included in the decision on discontinuance of the proceedings. (more)

The Supreme Administrative Court has issued another judgment favourable for citizens, in the case concerning entitlement to tax relief for the so-called “victims” of the system of permanent address registration. The court has shared the CHR’s opinion that failure to meet the formal requirements when a citizen applies for a tax relief is related to the notion of public interest. Write-off of tax debt should not be limited solely to reasons of extraordinary nature or caused by force majeure. (more)

On 5 October, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights presented the conclusions on her visit to Poland. As part of the visit, she also met with CHR Adam Bodnar. (more)

On 4 October 2018, the Senate Committee on Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions heard the CHR’s information on the state of observance of civil rights and freedoms in 2017. I wish the CHR Office the continuation of its work in the current manner, and I wish you, Mr Commissioner, less involvement in politics, said the committee’s chairman Robert Mamątow (PiS). He admitted that the CHR Office needs financial support because in 2017 it was assigned new tasks. (more)

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

Przemysław Czarnek, head of the Lubelskie Voivodeship government, posted on YouTube a movie in which he called the Equality March in Lublin "disgusting", and described same-sex families as "perversion", "deviation" and "degeneration". The CHR wrote to the head of the Voivodeship a letter reminding him of the principles provided for in the Polish law: the prohibition of discrimination, included in the Constitution, and the regulations included in the Act on equal treatment. (more)

Not every person detained in Poland has immediate access to a lawyer which constitutes a basic guarantee of torture prevention. An urgent legislative initiative regarding the matter has been requested of the Minister of Justice by Commissioner Adam Bodnar. (more)

300 stewards and stewardesses employed by Ryanair in Poland are required, according to media reports, to become self-employed instead of working under employment contracts. The CHR wants the case to be inspected by the National Labour Inspectorate. (more)

The CHR found from a citizen’s complaint and media reports that despite the interest of local residents, the cinema run by the Municipal Cultural Centre in Pułtusk is not going to show Wojciech Smarzowski’s movie entitled "Kler". The CHR has requested the mayor of Pułtusk to specify the reasons for not showing the film in the cinema run by an organizational unit subordinated to the municipal office. (more)

People who live above dry cleaning facilities breathe polluted air that is very harmful to health. For over 20 years, there have been no regulations on permissible concentrations of chemical pollutants in residential rooms. The Commissioner has requested the Minister of Investment and Economic Development to take an urgent legislative initiative. (more)

Foreigners who intend to file, e.g. at the border crossing in Terespol, an application for granting the refugee status often have no such possibility. Border Guard officers draw up only short official notes on interviews held with those people. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that in order to decide that a foreigner may not enter Poland, minutes of the interviews should be drawn up. The CHR has addressed the Ministry of the Interior and Administration with regard to the issue. (more)

Citizens with disabilities have the right to take part in the discussions on the system of disability assessment. In his address to the Minister of Family, the CHR indicated threshold conditions for a good reform of the system. Similar conclusions were presented to Poland a week ago by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (more)

The decision to move judge Waldemar Żurek, the former spokesman of the National Council of the Judiciary, to another division of the District Court in Kraków is not connected with his recent activities, replied the court’s president Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka to the CHR’s inquiry. She maintained her decision to move the judge to the new position. (more)

Judge Monika Frąckowiak from Poznań will not be subject to disciplinary proceedings connected, e.g., with her statements defending the independence of courts. Antoni Łuczak, deputy disciplinary ombudsman of the Regional Court in Poznań, informed the CHR that no violations of disciplinary regulations had been identified in relation to her and that no proceedings have been initiated. (more)

Close relatives of adults who are fully incapacitated are helpless if the legal guardian of the incapacitated person makes it impossible to contact him/her. The Commissioner suggested, in his letter to the Minister of Justice, that in such cases the court, at the request of the interested parties, could initiate proceedings to introduce the guardian’s obligation to ensure such contacts. (more)

The Ministry of Investment and Economic Development is working on the amendment to the parliamentary act on housing co-operatives, informed Deputy Minister Artur Soboń. In the amendment, the errors included in the previous amendment of July 2017 and indicated to the ministry by the Commissioner for Human Rights will be removed. (more)

A citizen who files a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Tribunal has the right to the protection of his or her privacy. The Office for Personal Data Protection has agreed with the Commissioner’s opinion that the Court should anonymize its judgments before their publication in the Journal of Laws. (more)

Can transcripts of telephone conversations intercepted in the course of criminal proceedings be used as evidence in tax-related court proceedings? The issue was examined by the Supreme Administrative Court sitting in the enlarged panel, but no judgment was issued. The Commissioner too part in the proceedings. (more)

A citizen who was driving a car under the influence of drugs was also found guilty of „drug possession” before. The CHR considered this a gross violation of the law and filed a cassation appeal to the benefit of the convict. The court considered that the convicted person “possessed” marijuana based on his statement admitting that he smoke a cannabis cigarette. (more)

RIGHTS OF PERSONS DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIBERTY

In relation to mentally ill patients of prisons’ psychiatric wards, handcuffs are used extremely rarely, replied Director General of the Prison Service to the Commissioner’s question. According to the CHR, however, in relation to such persons the Prison Service does not have the right to use handcuffs as a prevention measure at all. (more)

A prisoner whose work permit was withdrawn by the prison director was not notified of that fact in writing. Without such a notification, the lawfulness of the withdrawal cannot be examined by a court. In his address to Director General of the Prison Service, the CHR emphasized that in all cases convicted persons should be informed of such decisions in writing. (more)

Convicted offenders placed in psychiatric facilities should have the right to meetings in more intimate conditions, like other prisoners. Adam Bodnar requested the Minister of Health to amend the regulations. (more)

Persons deprived of their liberty may not receive fruit and vegetables in their food parcels. A parcel price has to be paid in advance, and its real price can be determined only after checking the weight of the fruits and vegetables – this was the explanation provided by the service provider. Deputy CHR suggested to Director General of the Prison Service several possible solutions to the problem. (more)

THE CHRONICLE

The need for Poland to take part in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and to sign it was highlighted by Adam Bodnar during the session of the Senior Citizens' Parliament. The meeting was held as part of the International Day of Older Persons. (more)

At the CHR Office, a meeting of the Expert Committee on Preventing Homelessness, which operates at the CHR Office, was held. The main subject was the problems which persons in the crisis of homelessness encounter when they need to receive a certificate from a social welfare institution or to deal with some formalities, because they have no registered residence address. (more)