Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 20 - 24 August 2018


TORTURE. On 22 August 2018, a 70-year-old man named Zygmunt was beaten at the police station in Ryki by police officers suspecting that he had purposefully damaged the grave of their colleague. The fact that the man had been beaten was discovered by experts from the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, conducting an unannounced inspection visit to the station. They ensured medical assistance to the man, and documented the incident. On 27 August, the Commissioner informed the prosecutor's office of the suspected criminal offence. (more)

The Commissioner for Human Rights has presented a “White book” on the change of the system of state in Poland, not by amending the Constitution but by acts of Parliament that were inconsistent with it. The book refers to the “White book” on the reform of the system of justice, presented by the government on 8 March 2018. The CHR’s publication has 1174 pages and is a collection of the Commissioner’s documents, interventions letters and received replies to them. (more)


The change of the state’s attitude to disability is still unlikely. This conclusion can be drawn from the reply sent to the CHR by the President of the ZUS Social Insurance Institution. The change should consist in approaching persons with disabilities not as being “not self-dependent”, but as “self-dependent when they get adequate support”. (more)

The CHR reminds of the need to deinstitutionalize the support system for persons with disabilities and senior persons. In 2017, jointly with 54 social organizations, the Commissioner appealed to the Prime Minister with regard to matter, yet the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy has not yet replied to the appeal. (more)

The NFZ National Health Fund will allocate additional 360 million PLN to the treatment and physiotherapy of persons with disabilities, replied the NFZ president to the CHR’s question regarding the implementation of the act on specific solutions to support persons with a significant degree of disability, which came into force on 1 July. (more)

The possibility to seek so-called immediate assurance of child maintenance, which is provided for in the amendment to the family law, planned by the Ministry of Justice, is in line with the CHR’s postulates. The Commissioner also supports the proposal to introduce mediation in cases concerning divorce or separation. He criticized, however, the possibility of suspending divorce proceedings more than once if the court sees a chance to maintain the marriage. (more)

Persons who have lost their driving license for drunk driving can apply for reinstatement of the license if the court agrees to them driving a car with an alcohol lock. According to the CHR, the regulation is used too rarely as hardly anyone is aware of it. (more)

Citizens complain that stationary speed cameras taking photos of cars that drive when the red light is on are not marked. This is because no regulation on the subject has been implemented since 2015. The Commissioner has inquired minister Andrzej Adamczyk about its implementation date. (more)

After the CHR’s inquiry, the police are looking into the issue of possible disciplinary responsibility of the officers who took the intervention during the demonstration in front of the Sejm building on 20 July 2018. Four people were detained, and one was injured. The District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw conducts its own proceeding concerning the police officers’ action. (more)

The police are aware that citizens’ IDs may not be checked only because those citizens ask uncomfortable questions to the prime minister or his ministers. Yet, they have to check IDs of those who seek to disrupt meetings with the authorities, replied the Ministry of the Interior and Administration to the CHR’s question. (more)

The Commissioner wants the Forest Guard officers to have the status of public officials. Otherwise they may not be prosecuted for violating their public duties, for example by unjustified use of force in relation to people protesting against tree cutting in the Białowieża forest. (more)

The CHR has inquired the Office for Foreigners about the case of Ludmiła Kozłowska, a Ukrainian citizen and president of the Open Dialogue Foundation. He has been entered by the Polish authorities into the Schengen Information System, the consequence of which is the prohibition to enter the Schengen zone. (more)

Foreigners have to wait for Polish residence and work permits even for over ten months. They also have difficulties with submitting relevant applications. The Commissioner has requested the Ministry of the Interior and Administration to shorten the waiting period. (more)

The President of the Institute of National Remembrance has determined who, on behalf of the Institute, may speak to the media, and what rules should be followed by the Institute’s employees when using social media; one of the rules is to refrain from criticizing their superiors. According to the Commissioner, this may limit their constitutional freedom of speech, of expression and information provision to the press. (more)

Regulations unintentionally resulted in the closure of rural housing cooperatives (entities managing residential buildings) that existed in villages where farming cooperatives used to operate in the past, under the communist system. The members of the cooperatives requested the CHR for assistance in correcting the mistake in the amendment of the relevant legislation, made in 2017. (more)

The recently adopted parliamentary act prohibiting the sale of poor quality solid fuels is to be supplemented by a regulation of the Minister of Energy that will lay down quality requirements for those types of fuels whose sale will be permitted. The CHR, in concern, has addressed the Minister of Energy about the matter. (more)

Sand mining without a permit was a reason for imposing on an entrepreneur a penalty fine as well as a fine under administrative law in the amount of half a million PLN. The double penalty system is permitted under the geology law. The Commissioner has doubts about its compliance with the constitution. (more)


Polish courts have agreed to the extradition of a Belarusian citizen without examining the defender’s arguments concerning the political nature of the case. The CHR has filed a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court, indicating that the freedoms and rights of Andrei R. may be violated of he is transferred to the Belarusian authorities. (more)

The high school graduates from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, whose secondary school-leaving examination results were annulled in 2011, filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. In his opinion issued for the ECHR, the Commissioner pointed to the possible violation of their rights: to court, to privacy and to education. (more)