Godło RP

Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 15 - 19 October 2018


The prohibition, by the Constitutional Tribunal, for Polish courts to ask questions to the Court of Justice of the EU would constitute a violation of Poland's obligations under international treaties, wrote the CHR to the Constitutional Tribunal. The conclusion was presented in connection with the Prosecutor General’s statement undermining the regulations on the grounds of which the Supreme Court asked a question of law relating to the new Act on that Court. (more)

Revolutionary changes in the field of companies’ criminal liability for law violation by their bodies or employees are provided for in the bill drawn up by the Ministry of Justice. A penalty of up to PLN 30 million, company closure or prohibition for the company to carry out certain activities will be possible. In his letter to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner wrote that in his opinion, the bill violates the constitutional right to a fair trial as well as the principle of proportionality. (more)

Across the country there operate, or are under construction, facilities that are arduous for local inhabitants. Local governments often permit their operation as they expect accelerated economic development. The negative impact of such facilities, including odour emission, large numbers of rodents or flies present in the vicinity of people’s houses, water source pollution, and related decrease of citizens’ property value, is not measured in any way. Activists of non-governmental organizations from all over the country, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, have taken a joint action and appealed to the government for amending the relevant regulations. It is now time to take joint action and not just for CHR to file his letters of intervention. (more)

How to counteract patho-streaming? The CHR held a round table meeting on it, with the participation of deputy minister of digitization Wanda Buk and 30 other experts. Patho-streaming means violence or vulgar content made available in return for payment, sometimes in violation of the law. (more)

A prosecutor's office has initiated an investigation concerning incitement to hatred on the grounds of national and racial differences, as well as the propagation of the totalitarian system of state on the website of the ONR organization. The Commissioner informed the Warsaw prosecutor’s office about the case. Initially it refused to initiate the proceedings but a court annulled its refusal. (more)

Local government elections. The CHR has emphasized to the Sejm, again, that there is a contradiction between the provisions of two acts of the Parliament that regulate the possibility to hold office in a local government. There occur serious problems in the interpretation of the provisions in the case the office of head of a municipal government, or of town/city mayor, is sought by a person who has been convicted in the past, e.g. to a cash penalty. (more)

Shareholders of the bankrupt credit union named Skarbiec are requested to increase the value of their shares in the union by 950%. This was decided by the general meeting of shareholders in 2015 but not all shareholders had been informed of it (as no such obligation existed). After the three years, they receive letters from the insolvency administrator, requesting payment of the increased share value, but many of them can not afford it. The CHR has written a letter to the Minister of Justice with regard to the lack of minimum protection level for the SKOK shareholders. (more)

Mr. Tomasz who looks after his disabled sister will now receive a three times higher benefit from the state. The Administrative Court once again has supported a carer of a person with disability by referring to the non-implemented judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 2014. It took into account arguments of the CHR who contested the local government’s decision that was unfavourable for Mr Tomasz. (more)

During general elections, visually impaired persons can vote by using special plastic pads with the Braille alphabet text on them. When, during local government elections, a voter requests such a pad, it has to be made available at the municipality’s ballot point. The Commissioner inquired the National Electoral Commission about the number of pads that will be available in each municipality and about the procedure which will be used when pads are requested by several voters at the same time. (more)

Hospital patients and their relatives are often forced to pay high parking fees if they want to use hospital car parks that are leased to private companies. The Commissioner requested the Minister of Health to address the problem. (more)

There has been yet another proceeding before a court, regarding the situation in the Warsaw Centre HousingCooperative, where the court has agreed with the Commissioner’s opinion. The CHR was engaged in the case because of the fact that due to former mismanagement of the cooperative, its members now have to bear consequences although it is not them who should bear them. (more)

Although the quality of water supplied to buildings is improving all the time, it may be deteriorated by the condition of water distribution installations within the buildings. The law does not provide for anyone to be responsible for controlling its quality inside the buildings, pointed the CHR in his letter to the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation. (more)

The government’s declarations that it would solve the problems related to the apartment saving scheme that existed under the former political system have not been followed by any specific actions, wrote the Commissioner in his letter to  the Prime Minister. Earlier, the government announced that the leading role in the state's housing policy would be played by the Housing Council established in January 2018. (more)

After a British citizen was beaten by a police officer in Katowice, the National Mechanism for the Prevention of torture issued a statement in which it expressed its deep concern with the event. Building proper police work culture of avoiding violence against detainees is an extremely important issue, and the brutality of the police officers has affected the image of and trust in the entire police service. (more)

There is a chance that after 20 years, finally, regulations will be introduced on permissible concentrations of harmful chemical substances in the air in rooms where people stay. The Commissioner for Human Rights has been seeking this for several years. The Ministry of Investment and Development has replied to the CHR that his postulates will be taken into account in drafting the next amendment to the Construction Law. (more)

Granting forest rangers the status of public officials would be unreasonable and unjustified, is the opinion of the Ministry of Justice. This was the reply of the ministry to the postulate of the Commissioner. The CHR indicated that because of the lack of such status sanctions may not be imposed on forest rangers for exceeding their competences, for example in the case of tree cutting in the Białowieża Forest. (more)

A single and consistent court interpretation will be of fundamental importance for purchasers of properties which used to be owned by the Employee Holiday Fund, the government believes. This has been the response to the Commissioner’s letter of intervention defending the right to property of a large group of people who purchased such properties in good faith but now may lose them. (more)

The right to privacy of hospital patients, including psychiatric ones, is violated by the use of video monitoring for which there are no grounds in any act of Parliament, indicated the CHR. Adam Bodnar has applied to the Minister of Health to regulate the issue in an act of the Parliament. (more)

The draft amendment to the Act on the Police Service may limit the scope of operations of the counterterrorism services only to instances of absolute necessity, indicated the CHR in his letter to the chairman of the parliamentary committee on internal affairs. The introduction of the proposed regulation may mean that local police officers in action, i.e. related to robbery prosecution, will have more possibilities to act that the counter-terrorists. (more)

When people in the crisis of homelessness want to use social welfare systems, they are referred to the municipal office for determining their last place of permanent residence. However, their ties with such places are often broken by that time and assistance provision at those places is just illusory. This is the main conclusion of the meeting of the Expert Committee on Counteracting Homelessness. The conclusion together with other postulates has been forwarded by the Commissioner to the Ministry of Family. (more)

The report on the visit to Poland of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, that was held in May 2017, has been published in Polish, as was requested by the CHR. (more)


The Commissioner for Human Rights has received the title of Development Architect 2018, awarded by United Nations Global Compact Poland. The prize awards the contributions of all those who have been building the CHR Office since its establishment in 1988, said CHR Adam Bodnar. He stressed that the office has always served the law and the good of citizens. (more)