Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 18-22 February 2019

The Prime Minister has received CHR’s 20 specific recommendations on how to counteract hate speech

The CHR pointed out that crimes motivated by prejudice on the grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity should be prosecuted ex officio. Membership in organizations that relate to totalitarian systems and that are prohibited by the Constitution should also be penalized. He stated that a definition of hate speech included in a parliamentary act should be introduced, and that internet content including such speech should be more effectively removed. He recommended holding broad social, educational and training campaigns for different social groups (more informaton and the document in full)

Freedom of speech vs. defamation. Article 212 of the Penal Code – what should be done in this area? On 5 March at 5 p.m. CHR Adam Bodnar is organizing a debate on the issue (the debate will be held in the Jan Nowak Jeziorański debate formula). There will be an online transmission of the debate.

The Ministry of Finance is working on the CHR’s postulate regarding tax-free interest on late payments that are not subject to tax, e.g. late child maintenance payments (more)

Human rights and bioethics challenges connected with new technologies: a new publication of the CHR. The monograph was written after a scientific conference organized by the CHR in cooperation with the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The conference focused on the impact of the European Bioethical Convention on the protection of human rights and freedoms. (more and link to the book)

The CHR forwarded to a parliamentary committee complaints and proposals concerning national and ethnic minorities in Poland. There is an increasing number of complaints by Ukrainian minority organizations, regarding destroyed Ukrainian graves or memorial monuments, as well as violence and hate speech concerning persons of this nationality. Also, since 2016, Muslims have been particularly exposed to attacks motivated by prejudice or hatred. (more)

There will be an investigative proceeding concerning PiS’ TV electoral spot that contained elements against refugees’ migration. The court has taken into account the CHR’s complaint (more)

The Commissioner highlights the unplanned consequences of the governmental draft amendments to the Penal Code: judges will have to impose specific and stricter penalties and the number of prisoners in Poland may increase despite regular reports by the police that the number of crimes has dropped. (more)

Persons with records of conviction in their criminal records will still not be allowed to work as supporters in prisoners’ social rehabilitation process. The Commissioner has not convinced the Ministry of Justice that former prisoners can affectively assist in the social rehabilitation of prisoners and in showing them how to live after release from a prison. (more)

The Commissioner will look into the case of disciplinary penalties imposed on prosecutors who worked on the case of falsified electoral lists of Młodzież Wszechpolska. (more)

The Patients’ Ombudsman: "standards higher than elsewhere" exist at the Gostynin closed facility , stated Patients Ombudsman Bartłomiej Chmielowiec. (more)

The CHR has joined the proceeding concerning a closed landfill which still releases toxic substances to the the environment. On Monday, a hearing before the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw will be held. (more details)


On 16 February, the CHR took part in Jan Olszewski’s funeral ceremony.

The CHR receives statements of support from international human rights organizations (more) and from citizens (more). A special statement concerning the court proceeding against Adam Bodnar, started by TVP SA national television, was issued by the social Council that supports the Commissioner’s work. (statement)

Sylwia Spurek has resigned from the position of Deputy CHR for equal treatment. She will cease to work for the CHR Office at the end of March. (more)