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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 16 - 20 July 2018

MAIN MATTERS

On 20 July, Adam Bodnar presented to the Sejm his report on the state of observance of civil rights and freedoms and on his activities in 2017. The greatest concern of the CHR has been caused by non-observance of the constitutional principle of social dialogue and cooperation of authorities, which was reflected e.g. by the lack of consultations on numerous important bills. I will never stop to be loyal to the current Constitution of the Republic of Poland, said the Commissioner. He delivered his presentation immediately after a vote on subsequent amendments to the acts on courts, including the Supreme Court. (more)

On 18 July 2018, the Commissioner presented his report to the parliamentary committee on justice. The chairman of the committee, Stanisław Piotrowicz, interrupted the debate before Adam Bodnar managed to answer all the questions asked by the deputies. This was after the Commissioner’s words that one cannot count on the independence of the Constitutional Tribunal in the composition of which there are also unauthorized persons. (more)

The amendment of the acts on courts, adopted by the Sejm, raises the CHR’s doubts relating to the protection of civil liberties and rights. It provides, among others, for sooner nomination of candidates for the position of the First President of the Supreme Court. The Commissioner believes that this is not a response to the problems of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, but a reaction to the current situation. This week, the amendment will be considered by the Senate. (more)

On 18 July, the International Day of Prisoners’ Rights and the anniversary of the birthday of Nelson Mandela who fought for human rights and spent 27 years in prison, the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture issued a statement reminding of the importance of rehabilitation of convicted persons. (more)

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

The PiS deputies’ bill concerning changes in the system of elections to the European Parliament raises serious doubts of the CHR regarding the principle of proportionality of the elections. It may lead to the lack of representation of a relatively large group of voters. (more)

Although Poland has made significant progress with regard to improving the treatment of persons deprived of liberty, there is still a lot to do. In particular, it is necessary to ensure the possibility of immediate exercise, by such persons, of their rights, and to prevent instances of disproportionate deprivation of one’s liberty. These have been the preliminary conclusions of the first visit to Poland of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). (more)

A man with a disability was allowed to enter the Sejm building under a “special procedure”, as a person included in the list of supporters of protesting persons with disabilities. In connection with the protest, entry to the Sejm building is in many cases prohibited or difficult. This is a violation of the constitutional right of access to meetings of collective bodies whose members are elected in general elections, stated the CHR. (more)

Individual tuition to be provided only at home. The change of the system of individual tuition for children with disabilities may be an additional problem both for the children and for their families. The Commissioner intervened before the Ministry of National Education with regard to the issue. (more)

An inter-ministerial team was to develop a system for placing mentally ill convicts, during a period of penalty suspension, in appropriately protected psychiatric hospitals. The Commissioner has inquired about the effects of the team’s works of which, in 2017, information was provided by the ministries of health and justice. (more)

The CHR has appealed to the Polish government again to join the works of the UN Working Group on Aging which is drafting the Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. Participation in the works of the group would be an expression of concern for the observance of the rights of senior persons not only in our country, but also around the world, emphasized the Commissioner. (more)

The building of the District Court in Wrocław may only be entered by persons summoned to attend a trial or court session, and by persons who “prove that they have an important matter to settle”. The CHR has demanded that this provision of the court’s rules and regulations be repealed as contrary to the constitutional principle of openness of court proceedings. (more)

The “business constitution” does not provide for any limits in debt enforcement by bailiffs against the income of sole traders. The Commissioner has appealed to the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology to guarantee a minimum subsistence income to such persons. (more)

The Commissioner inquired the Ministry of National Defence and the Prison Service whether pork products from regions at risk of African swine fever had been subject to domestic quality control and whether the origin of the meat was indicated to mass catering entities. (more)

The rights of patients of the Gostynin centre do not differ negatively in any way from the rights of patients of other psychiatric hospitals, replied the Patients Ombudsman to the CHR’s request for taking measures to protect the Gostynin patients’ rights. The District Court in Płock announced that at least once a year inspections of the centre will be conducted. (more)

LEGISLATION

Marta has a chance to get a refund of the cost of the pain reliever required in her rare leg disease. The Supreme Administrative Court overruled the decision of the Minister of Health refusing the refund. The proceeding was joined by the CHR who referred to the rights to dignity, healthcare and life protection, as guaranteed by the Constitution. (more)

Halina, who looks after her mother with disability, will get 1406 zł of nursing benefit for 10 months more, ruled the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski in the case that was joined by the CHR. (more)

THE CHRONICLE

On the occasion of the International Day of Prisoners’ Rights, the CHR Office representatives met with prisoners of Białystok Detention Centre. Deputy CHR Hanna Machińska spoke about the Day of Prisoners’ Rights and measures taken by the Commissioner to ensure the observance of the rights of persons deprived of liberty. (more)