Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 2 - 7 November 2016

Newsletter 2-7 November 2016


The UN Human Rights Committee has issued recommendations for Poland

- Although this may sound naive today, I believe that we are able to replace the political war in Poland with a real public debate, and instead of imposing solutions in the Parliament we can jointly consider which solutions are best for the citizens, for the possibility to exercise their rights and for the overall public interest, said Adam Bodnar at a press conference on the recommendations for Poland, issued on 4 November by the UN Human Rights Committee. The recommendations relate, among others, to the situation of the Constitutional Tribunal and to counteracting hate crime and violence against women [more]. The content of the CHR’s statement is available at

The CHR’s regional meetings in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeship

From 3 to 5 November, Adam Bodnar held meetings with residents of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeship. He visited: Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz and Grudziądz.

The measures aimed at promoting equal treatment, supporting persons with disabilities, preventing hate speech and violence and keeping memories of the city’s history were presented to the Commissioner by students of the Tadeusz Kościuszko Automotive Technical School in Włocławek [more].

In Bydgoszcz, the CHR visited the “Łuczniczka” Physical Culture and Sports Club for blind and visually impaired persons [more].

The respect for the rights of citizens in a situation when the Constitutional Tribunal is not able to carry out its tasks to the full extent was discussed by Adam Bodnar at a meeting with students of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń [more]. The CHR also met with the mentors of foreign students to find out what problems are encountered by foreigners in Poland [more]. In Toruń, the Commissioner also met with the Regional Council of NGOs [more], and found time to visit a rehabilitation centre run by the Mateusz Association for Prevention and Rehabilitation [more].


Exhumations of the victims of the Smolensk disaster. The Commissioner’s reply to the statement of the Prosecutor's Office

- I would like to point out that I do not question the prosecutor’s powers to take the decision on the exhumations. I do not evaluate the appropriateness of the decision, either. However, I do not share the opinion that the prosecutor's decision on the issue is not subject to external scrutiny, wrote Adam Bodnar in his subsequent letter to Deputy Prosecutor General Marek Pasionek on the issue of the exhumations of the bodies of the Smolensk disaster victims [more].

The CHR looks into the case of a dismissed journalist-trade union member

The journalist was employed by Polskie Radio SA under an employment contract, as head of a news department. He was dismissed due to the reason of the loss of trust. His employer claimed that the trust, as a necessary requirement for the job, was undermined by the journalist as he publicly criticised his employer and questioned the competences of his managers. The CHR is looking into the case [more].

The situation of Poles living in the UK

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior and Administration have sent to the Commissioner the information on ensuring safety to Poles living in the UK [more].

May Polish Post employees inspect our homes to determine whether we use TV sets?

The CHR Office receives complaints relating to inspections which attempt to verify whether people use TV sets and radios at their homes. There are doubts as to whether employees of the Polish Post have the power to enter private houses or apartments to determine whether a citizen has a TV set or a radio, wrote Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar in his letter to Minister of Infrastructure and Construction Andrzej Adamczyk [more].

The 500+ child benefit for all disabled children from foster families

The CHR intervened before the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy in connection with limited access to the 500+ child benefit for some disabled children from foster families. The Commissioner has received a reply [more].

Illegal work of prisoners? The case solved thanks to the Commissioner’s intervention

Following press information, the CHR looked into the case of prisoners from Łódź region’s penitentiary institutions which sent prisoners to perform unpaid work for a private company. The findings on the case are available at

What can be done about illegal wheel clamps?

The Commissioner receives numerous complaints relating to the use by property managers (or entities hired by them) of wheel clamps on vehicles parked in areas other than public roads. The Commissioner has asked the Minister of the Interior and Administration to intervene [more].


Legislation on nursing homes needs to be changed

The Commissioner has requested Prime Minister Beata Szydło to undertake work on drawing up legislation to permit voivodeship inspectors to inspect all privately owned live-in nursing homes, regardless of their official name and types of persons to whom care is provided [more].

The CHR: perpetrators of domestic violence must be immediately isolated from their victims

Not every instance of domestic violence may be classified as a crime. Thus, a system is required to isolate the victim from the perpetrator within 24 hours in cases where there exist no reasons for arrest or for initiating criminal proceedings against the perpetrator. The CHR has sent a letter on the issue to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy [more].

Why does the Minister of Justice fail to publish information on judge vacancies?

The National Council of the Judiciary has stated that as a result of the Minister of Justice’s failure to publish information on judge vacancies, currently over two hundred of judge positions remain vacant. The CHR has requested the Minister to explain the situation [more].

It's time to solve the problem of odours from farms, landfills, incineration plants and industrial plants operating in the vicinity of people’s homes

There is a lack of legislation on the so-called odour nuisance caused by facilities such as animal farms, industrial plants, landfills and waste incinerators. The CHR has referred the matter to the Minister of the Environment [more].

Limited access to benefits from the alimony fund

In their letter to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, the CHR and the Ombudsman for Children indicated the main problems relating to the limited access to benefits from the alimony fund. They suggested, among others, the “zloty for zloty” system which is currently used in determining the rights to family benefits [more].

Parents of adult children with disabilities may not be forced to incapacitate their children

Parents taking care of a disabled child whose disability makes it impossible to take rational decisions and live independently are often forced to apply for incapacitation of their child in order to be considered his/her care providers. The Commissioner has requested the Government Plenipotentiary for Persons with Disabilities to take a position on the issue [more].

The issue of compensations for soldiers forced to work in railway troops in 1950s

The Board of the National Association of Former Soldiers of Railway Troops has requested the Commissioner to support them in seeking compensations for forced labour performed by them in 1950s. The Commissioner has asked Polish senators to take steps to extend the catalogue of persons entitled to the benefits for the so-called “soldiers-miners” through including soldiers from the railway troops [more].

Properties confiscated by Polish communist authorities from churches and religious organisations

In March 2015, the Commissioner requested the then Minister of Administration and Digitization to adopt legislative solutions allowing to return to churches and religious organisations the properties confiscated from them as a result of the post-war expropriation and nationalization processes. As the Commissioner received no reply, he sent another letter on the issue to the Minister of the Interior and Administration [more].

Prisoners should receive acknowledgment of receipt of their correspondence addressed to the head of the penitentiary institution

Persons deprived of liberty repeatedly indicate that their written complaints and requests addressed to the heads of their penitentiary institutions do not reach the addressees. The Prison Service keeps no registers of internal correspondence and does not issue any acknowledgments of receipt of the correspondence to the prisoners. The Commissioner has requested the Head of the Prison Service to take a position on the issue [more].

The Ministry of the Interior and Administration to amend legislation on electoral rolls in order to simplify the provisions on adding persons who have no permanent place of residence

The Commissioner has received information on the issue from the National Electoral Commission with which he exchanged letters on the issue [more].


PIS leader Jarosław Kaczyński on the CHR’s dismissal

In early September, Piotr Ikonowicz wrote to the PIS leader an open letter relating to the Commissioner for Human Rights. Last week, he published the reply on the internet [more].

Representative of Thailand’s administrative court visited the CHR Office

Mr Vishnu Varunyou from the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand met with representatives of the Commissioner for Human Rights to better understand the scope of powers and the system of work of the Polish Ombudsman [more]