SYSTEM OF JUSTICE
One week ago, the Commissioner returned from a four-day trip to the Wielkopolska region of Poland. What problems did people raise there?
Problems in the field of environmental protection: smog, noise coming from motorways, odours from animal breeding farms, or illegal landfills were mentioned in each of the meetings. Also, the town of Śrem is negotiating with the city of Poznań to maintain bus connections with the region’s capital despite the closure of the PKS Poznań regional bus company. If the negotiations fail, 1800 cars will drive to Poznań every day only from Śrem itself. Śrem has launched free-of-charge buses in the town (because, in general, this is of benefit for it) and encourages public officials to go to work by their “business bicycles” (and to wear cycling helmets). The town of Szamotuły has an excellent railway connection with Poznań but people who live in new houses around the town have to use their cars to get to the city. Persons who have solved the transport problem themselves complain that at present, a driving license can be easily taken away from people and without it it is impossible to get anywhere. Poznań residents complain that the local government does not allocate enough money to the fight against smog. In Ostrów Wielkopolski, people are concerned with the increase of the permitted noise levels, and suspect this is a way of saving money on noise-absorbing screens.
A truly difficult problem was mentioned in the meeting in Śrem: in the village of Pysząca there is an illegal landfill. The owner has disappeared, the local government cannot afford the waste utilization, and the pollutants leak to the soil and waters.
Another problem is the ZUS social insurance company’s practice that concerns miners from the brown coal mines in Turek and Konin. They seek early retirement pensions but ZUS claims they did not work as miners.
The meeting participants were also active people with disabilities and carers of such people. The support for people with disabilities is organized in an uncoordinated way. This shows that the guarantees contained in Article 69 of the Constitution are not approached systemically by the state. In Konin, the town authorities ensure that all construction projects, even concerning road crossings for pedestrians, ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities or parents with children in pushchairs. The authorities are aware that accessibility is costly but do not save on civilization standards. In the town of Nowy Tomyśl, mothers of adults with disabilities shared with the CHR their concern that their children are isolated in the homes, and their fear about the children’s future after the mothers die.
It was evident that the miners were aware their RIGHTS might be violated. The carers (mainly female ones) of people with disabilities only asked for ASSISTANCE because they did not perceive their situations from the perspective of violation of their RIGHTS.
Excellent local initiatives were also mentioned. Note should be taken of the initiative in Śrem where a programme for seniors who live by themselves was launched. They may change their larger-size council flats to small-size ones that are more modern and fully adapted to the needs of persons with reduced mobility.
To the end, it should be noted that a topic that was NOT mentioned in the meetings (although it is still present on the main media) was the LGBT+ card from Warsaw. At the same time, questions handed over on pieces of paper (mainly by young people) related to discrimination, the fight against hate speech, and respect for the rights of minorities or people who do not share the majority’s opinions.