Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 21-25 May 2018


It is possible for a state without torture to exist. This requires changes in the law, including access to a lawyer already from the time of citizen’s detention, and the covering of the crime of torture by the Penal Code provisions, said Adam Bodnar while opening the debate entitled Round Table: a state without torture?. The debate was held at the CHR Office and was organized in cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Europe. The Commissioner will carry out a large-scope public campaign against torture. (more)

The case of Tomasz Komenda should become a significant reason for the authorities to take measures in order to protect citizens against the risk of torture aimed at making the suspect admit that he/she is guilty, says the statement issued by the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. (more)

At the request of the Commissioner, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights presented a legal opinion concerning the definition of torture, the total prohibition to use torture, which should be included in Polish legislation, and the classification of torture as a crime in the Penal Code. (more)

The Commissioner has started an ex-officio examination of the case of the Parliament Guard’s intervention that took place on 24 May 2018 with regard to persons protesting in the Sejm building. The Commissioner wants to verify whether the intervention was proportional and adequate to the potential risks. (more)

The Ministry of Labour is ignoring the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment of 2014 regarding care benefits. The CHR finds it unacceptable that the benefits may be refused on the grounds of that part of the applicable parliamentary Act, which has been declared inconsistent with the Constitution. (more)

A new comprehensive property restitution law is necessary to guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens, believes the CHR. In his opinion, the lack of such law is the reason for the operation of the current system in which citizens’ rights are violated. (more)


The CHR has highlighted the problems with enforcement of court judgments regarding the right to social housing, that occur after the amendment of the Act concerning, e.g., the protection of tenants’ rights. The individual parts of the Act come into force on different dates, and it has not been clearly indicated which of those parts should be considered already applicable at a given time. (more)

The reduction in the number of electoral officials has raised the concern of the CHR. He has inquired the National Electoral Commission whether this would not pose a risk in terms of the possibility to conduct local government elections. The Commissioner has also called for regulating the principles of conducting the so-called pre-election campaigns. (more)

Adam Bodnar has requested the Prime Minister to urge the Minister of Justice to reply to the CHR’s intervention regarding non-compliance with the Constitution of the prohibition to hold judicial positions in the country by persons of foreign citizenship. The CHR has also appealed to the National Inspector for Data Protection for ordering the Minister to stop processing judges’ data regarding their citizenship, because there is no legal basis for its processing. (more)

The Commissioner has forwarded to the Minister of Justice a letter of intervention concerning the reasons for providing support, under the Fund for Support to Victims and Post-Penitentiary Assistance, inter lia to the following entities: the Lux Veritatis foundation, the College of Social and Media Culture, the Volunteer Fire Brigades, and the Central Anticorruption Bureau. (more)

Judges too frequently base their verdicts solely on the opinions of court experts, without conducting independent and critical analyses of such opinions themselves, pointed out the CHR. He has appealed to the Ministry of Justice for accelerating the works on the new parliamentary act on court experts, which would ensure sufficient guarantees of the constitutional right to court. (more)

Three retired officers of the former State Security Service who, in the 1980s, used to warn the Church structures against actions planned to be taken by that Service, have been considered by courts to be persons who cooperated with the pro-independence  movements, pointed out the CHR in his intervention to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The ministry has reduced the officers’ retirement pensions under the parliamentary act on the reduction of pensions of members of state security services that existed under the former communist system. (more)

The CHR has welcomed the legislative initiative of the Senate, regarding the criteria for determining the size of the refund of costs of travel to school by children with disabilities. Due to the lack of uniform criteria, municipalities are allowed to determine the size of the refund locally. The uniform principles will ensure truly equal access to education for pupils with disabilities, believes the CHR. (more)


The Voivodeship Administrative Court has accepted the CHR's complaint against the regulations adopted by the City Council of Warsaw, concerning refusal of access to public transport to "troublesome passengers", and declared those regulations to be null and void. (more)

A person to whom further access to confidential information has been prohibited has the right to read that part of the justification of the relevant judgment of the administrative court, which does not contain any classified information, adjudicated the Constitutional Tribunal. The CHR had joined the constitutional complaint concerning the matter. (more)

The Supreme Administrative Court refused to issue, in reply to the CHR’s application, a resolution concerning the competences of the National Inspector for Data Protection to issue decisions on cases involving personal data processing by churches and religious associations. (more)

According to the information provided to the CHR by the Prison Service, despite the 2017 amendment of the legislation concerning child support payment avoidance, the number of persons who serve penalties for the offence within the electronic surveillance system has not increased. (more)