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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 11 - 17 October 2016

Newsletter 11-17 October 2016

MAIN MATTERS

The UN Committee has issued recommendations concerning Poland

On 7 October, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued recommendations concerning Poland. They relate e.g. to areas such as equal treatment, terms of employment, unemployment, social security, domestic violence and childcare. The document contains several dozen opinions and recommendations [more].

On 17-18 October 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee is considering Poland’s report on the implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee members met with representatives of the Commissioner for Human Rights [more].

The CHR’s regional meetings in the Małopolskie voivodeship

From 11 to 14 October, the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar held meetings with residents of the Małopolskie voivodeship. The CHR visited: Kraków, Nowy Sącz, Gorlice and Tarnów.

On that occasion, at the Jagiellonian University a constitutional debate on personal freedom was held. Thanks to the meeting, we found out that the oldest Polish university has Poland’s most modern education support centre for persons with disabilities [more].

In Nowy Sącz, the Commissioner met both with young students and with attendees of the Third Age University. At the Senior Persons Support Centre in Miechów, the Commissioner took part in a discussion on senior citizens’ rights.

The visit to the Małopolskie voivodeship was an opportunity to have a closer look at many important local initiatives. At the social cooperative Spółdzielnia Socjalna „Okno Na Świat” in Słopnice, the employees spoke about taking care of children and persons with disabilities, and about equal treatment of women. Work with persons with disabilities and with long-term unemployed persons was the subject of the meeting with representatives of the social cooperative Spółdzielnia Socjalna „OPOKA” in Klucze.

Methods of providing assistance to persons affected (either personally or as family members) by mental illness crisis were discussed at the local community support centre Środowiskowy Dom Samopomocy in Wieliczka.  We found out more about these problems thanks to the visit to the families’ association for mental health, named Stowarzyszenie Rodzin „Zdrowie Psychiczne". Return to society after imprisonment was the main subject discussed at the association Małopolskie Stowarzyszenie Probacja.

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

The CHR on the exhumation of bodies of the Smolensk plane crash disaster victims

In connection with Ms Małgorzata Rybicka’s open letter to Minister of Justice - Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro, in which she stated she was against the planned exhumation of the body of her late husband Arkadiusz Rybicki who died in the Smolensk plane crash, the Commissioner asked the Office of the Prosecutor General to explain the reasons for the exhumation. The CHR has already received a reply [more].

Legislation on privately owned live-in nursing homes needs to be changed

Privately owned facilities whose business activity consists in the provision of 24-hour live-in nursing care to sick or elderly persons should be subject to better supervision, reminded the CHR after the media reports about the violation of rights of persons living at the nursing home in Zgierz [more].

The State Labour Inspectorate informs the CHR about the results of the inspection at the hospital where a doctor died on duty

The report shows that at hospitals operating within that ownership group, working time standards were not complied with and, in numerous cases, civil-law agreements were used instead of regular employment contracts [more].

Entry to the Sejm building refused for taking photographs? The Commissioner intervenes

The Commissioner is looking into the case of Paweł Dąbrowski, a photojournalist who has temporarily been refused entry to the Polish Parliament building because of the fact that he had taken an informal picture of one of the female MPs [more].

More rights for young citizens

Let's give more rights to young people is the title of Adam Bodnar’s commentary for the Onet.pl internet portal. The Commissioner referred e.g. to giving the voting rights to teenagers [more].

Prisoners’ right to medical examinations

At some penitentiary facilities, a decision whether a prisoner may be tested for HIV and HCV is taken by the head of the institution, after consulting with a specialist. In the Commissioner’s opinion, the requirement for a prisoner to seek consent of the head of the institution for undergoing the medical tests violates the prisoner’s right to the confidentiality of information on his/her health condition [more].

LEGISLATION

Regulations on driving licence suspension are partly inconsistent with the Constitution

The Constitutional Tribunal has delivered a judgment on the provisions governing driving licence suspension for exceeding the speed limit, in built-up areas, by over 50 km per hour. Even “the state of emergency” such as driving a pregnant woman in labour to a hospital may not serve as a justification for the driver. The Tribunal has considered the provisions inconsistent with the Constitution [more].

Legislation on recalling judges from secondment posts should be changed

The Commissioner has pointed out several times that the current provisions on recalling judges from their secondment raise serious doubts as to their conformity to the Constitution. This is connected e.g. with the fact that the Minister of Justice does not have to justify his/her decisions recalling judges from their secondment posts. According to press reports, judge Justyna Koska-Janusz has recently been recalled under this procedure. The CHR has requested Minister Zbigniew Ziobro to take a position on the issue [more].

The Venice Commission adopts an opinion on the new Act on the Constitutional Tribunal

The new Act on the Constitutional Tribunal fails to meet two key standards of the balance of powers: the independence of the judiciary, and the role of the Tribunal as the final arbiter in cases relating to conformity to the Constitution, stated the Venice Commission in its opinion [more].

THE CHRONICLE

The legal bar in defence of human rights

- The Polish legal bar has to ensure to all citizens the possibility to effectively exercise their right to defence, even in the case of most sensitive issues between a citizen and the state, said Adam Bodnar at the conference entitled "The Bar in defence of human rights", organized by the Human Rights Committee of the Polish National Bar Council [more].

X Warsaw Seminar

The problems of persons with physical disabilities and persons with intellectual disabilities, who are serving imprisonment penalties, were discussed by employees of the CHR Office during the X Warsaw Seminar [more].

A meeting on women’s rights

In Poznań, Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar met with female representatives of the Polish Federation of Clubs of Business & Professional Women (BPW). At the meeting, the main issues relating to the rights and freedoms of women were discussed [more].

Healthy hearing children of deaf parents

The situation of healthy hearing children who have deaf parents was discussed by Adam Bodnar at the conference "CODA - the Double Potential", held in Warsaw [more].

Representatives of a Korean non-governmental organization visit the CHR Office

Issues relating to equal treatment and non-discrimination were the main subject discussed by representatives of the Jeonbuk Officials Institute, a Korean organisation protecting human rights at the local level, during their visit at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights [more]