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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 11-15 February 2019

On 11 February 2019 Polish Public Television TVP SA started civil action against Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar as a private individual, for violating TVP SA’s personal rights by making on 16 January 2019 on the Onet.pl web portal a statement regarding the killing of Gdańsk mayor Paweł Adamowicz.

People and expanding airports. Have house owners got a real chance to get compensation for excessive noise levels? The CHR’s statement

The Parliament is working on an amendment to the Act which, one year ago, following the CHR’s application, was considered by the Constitutional Tribunal inconsistent with the Constitution. This was due to the fact that according to the act, damages might be claimed for only for a period of two years starting from the date of the relevant building permit. People were, in many cases, not aware that they could claim damages when there was no noise around yet. The Parliament should amend the act’s provisions by 15 March. Initially, the amendment gave residents a real chance to seek the compensations but now the document becomes more oriented at protecting the interests of entrepreneurs and the state. The Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned with the facts. [more]

THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, Article 51 of the Constitution

According to TVP, people who take part in street demonstrations on regular basis are public persons and their images may therefore be published by television stations, as was the case in the „Wiadomości” news programme on 4 February (more about the letter by the TVP President)

Residents of Kraków are concerned with the plan to install 3500 cameras in the city’s district of Prądnik Czerwony, and 100 000 cameras across the whole city. What about the  citizens’ right to privacy? The CHR has sent an inquiry to the mayor of Kraków. (more)

The Institute of National Remembrance is conducting its employees’ vetting process in a lengthy manner. The court may wait for months for the results to be achieved by the Institute but, in the meantime, persons subject to the vetting procedure may be condemned as informers of the former Polish People Republic’s security services. (more)

THE MEDIA AND THE AUTHORITIES, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, Article 54 of the Constitution

TVP Info discredited the activities of the „Never again” association. The Commissioner has requested the National Broadcasting Council to look into the matter. (more)

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw has shared the view of the OKO.press journalist who was not allowed to enter the Sejm building, and whose claim was supported by the CHR. The court has adjudicated that the refusal of access to the Sejm’s session was against the law. (more)

RETIREMENT PENSIONS, Article 67 of the Constitution

Social insurance of artistic creators. The Deputy Prime Minister explains the content of the government’s bill. The CHR has been dealing with the problem for several years, and people complain regularly about it, also at the regional meetings held by the CHR. (more)

THE RULE OF LAW, Article 2 of the Constitution

Interpreters’ right to maintain professional secrecy in criminal proceedings is not sufficiently protected, has stated the CHR in his letter to the Minister of Justice. (more)

EQUAL TREATMENT, Articles 32 AND 33 of the Constitution

Gender is one of key factors in cases of harassment, sexual harassment and sexual violence. On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science the CHR presented a report on a survey on harassment among students. (more)

RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, Article 69 of the Constitution

The state stops to provide support to parents who have a child with a disability and who are in a psychological crisis, when the child turns 18. The Commissioner has called for a broad inter-ministerial discussion on developing a systemic  solution of the problem. (more)

TENANTS, Article 75 of the Constitution

Former apartment saving scheme. The CHR has inquired the minister about what has been done for the year following his announcements. (more)

RIGHTS OF PERSONS DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIBERTY, Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Constitution

In pre-trial detention facilities, meetings of persons deprived of liberty with their lawyers are supervised by a monitoring system. This poses a risk to the right of defence. (more)

In pre-trial detention centres detainees complain of cases when police officers use torture to force a detained person to admit he has committed a crime. There are no mentions of such situations in the persons’ medical records. According to the Commissioner, regulations are required on documenting the health status of detainees. (more)

The Commissioner: a prisoner’s medical examination in the presence of a police officer should be conducted only as an exception as it undermines the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy. The matter should be regulated in a parliamentary act. (more)