Godło RP

Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 2 - 7 July 2018

MAIN MATTERS

According to the Sejm’s work schedule, on Friday, 20 July in the afternoon the Commissioner for Human Rights will present to the Sejm his annual report on the state of observance of human and civil rights (Sejm paper no. 2602). This year, the CHR’s report is different than before: it is about our rights enshrined in the Constitution, and what should be done to make them work for us, citizens, as guaranteed therein. Such explicit reference to the Constitution is is related to the actions of citizens who, in their protests in defence of the independent system of justice and in their regional meetings with the CHR across Poland referred to the Constitution (CHR’s report). The CHR report’s presentation to the Parliamentary Committee will take place on 18 July.

If the Supreme Court becomes subordinated to political interests, the last bastion of the rule of law will be lost. Without independent courts, the situation will be like in Martin Niemöller’s poem: Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me, wrote Adam Bodnar in an article published on gazeta.pl, referring to the situation in the Supreme Court. (more)

Three former Commissioners for Human Rights have considered the attempts to discredit Adam Bodnar’s work and personality traits to be a source of concern and to deserve condemnation. The attempts had the form of dissenting opinions on the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgments, which opinions had been formulated in bad faith, against professional rules and in violation of good manners. Such statement has been issued and signed by: Prof. Ewa Łętowska, Prof. Adam Zieliński and Prof. Andrzej Zoll. (more)

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

A mother was refused the child allowance due for children from large families, and no explanation of the reason for the refusal was given to her. The Commissioner intervened in the case of the woman. (more)

The Commissioner intervened in the case of a mother who had been waiting for the award of the parental benefit for over a year. (more)

A woman who had paid a fine for using public transport without a ticket was subject to proceedings by a bailiff. The CHR intervened with regard to the matter. (more)

After the interventions by the CHR Office and by MP Sławomir Piechota, a new polling station adjusted to the needs of persons with disabilities has been ensured in Wrocław. (more)

The real scale of hate crimes that take place in Poland against Ukrainians, migrants from Muslim countries and from Sub-Saharan Africa is underestimated; only 5% of such cases are reported to the police, show studies conducted by the CHR Office and ODIHR/OSCE. (more)

Krzysztof S., former president of the Court of Appeals in Kraków, was treated as a dangerous prisoner throughout the period of his detention. Adam Bodnar concluded there was no justification for such treatment. He called on the Prison Service to eliminate such situations. (more)

The 10-hour working day for police officers as well as other new systems of work may be a solution to problems such as an increased number of officers leaving the service at a younger age, and the lack of incoming candidates. However, to this end, legislative changes are required. The Commissioner intervened before the Ministry of Interior and Administration with regard to the issue. (more)

Restricted rights of patients of the Gostynin centre should be provided for under an act of Parliament and not under the centre’s internal regulations, reiterated the CHR. He requested the Patients Ombudsman to join the actions aimed at protecting the patients’ rights. (more)

Consumer bankruptcy should be regulated in a separate act of Parliament, and the procedure should be simplified. These conclusions from the seminar held at the CHR Office were forwarded to the Minister of Justice in connection with the proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Law. (more)

Since 2008, the CHRs have been asking successive competent ministers to determine qualifications required of persons responsible for soil type classification. Yet, soil classification licences are still issued by heads of villages, and no specific criteria for such licence holders have yet been specified. (more)

LEGISLATION

The waste incineration installation in Warsaw’s district of Radiowo will be closed down, decided the Mazowsze Voivodeship’s Environmental Protection Inspector after the claimants won the case in the Supreme Administrative Court. The CHR took part in the proceedings. The case has shown that despite the lack of air quality standards applicable to odours, the fight against such air pollution can be won. (more)

The CHR challenged, before the Constitutional Tribunal, the transitional provision of the Penal Code, which concerns the size of joint penalty. On 4 July 2018, the Tribunal adjudicated that the provision is compliant with the constitutional principle of equality. (more)

THE CHRONICLE

On 2 July 2018, Adam Bodnar took part in a session of the Sejm Committee on National and Ethnic Minorities. He presented information on complaints and motions received by the CHR and on interventions taken by him in 2015-2017 in cases relating to anti-muslim and islamophobic behaviours. (more)

The CHR met with the parents of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons. The parents, representing the associations named My, Rodzice [We, the parents] and Akceptacja [Acceptance], presented the activities of their associations, including initiatives aimed at broadening the knowledge about young people’s sexual identity and orientations. (more)

Adam Bodnar took part in the panel entitled My, obywatele – nasze wolności i prawa [We, the citizens - our freedoms and rights] at the Open'er festival in Gdynia. The Commissioner spoke about civil rights and freedoms, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court and new copyright law. He received a standing ovation. (more)