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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 21 December 2017 - 8 January 2018

Newsletter  21 December 2017– 8 January 2018

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MAIN MATTERS

54 recommendations of the First Polish Congress on Civil Rights

- The First Polish Congress on Civil Rights was an unprecedented event, said Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar at a press conference held on 8 January. Within one month from the end of the Congress, specific recommendations have been developed. They will serve as an inspiration for the CHR and will also be shared with ministries and central institutions as well as political parties. Additionally, the Commissioner will use them during his regional meetings.

54 recommendations of the First Congress on Civil Rights constitute a list of tasks to be implemented by the Commissioner for Human Rights and the civil society.

Specific Congress recommendations relate to education and civic empowerment, the rights of citizens in their contacts with the judicial system, healthcare, work, home and the position of Poland in Europe [specific recommendations].

The next Congress on Civil Rights will be held on 7 and 8 December 2018, a century after Poland regained independence, 70 years after signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 25 years after Poland's ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Reports, documents, panel discussion videos as well as photographic documentation of the Congress are available on the event’s website (https://www.rpo.gov.pl/pl/content/kpo).

How does the government plan to ensure people’s access to health care given the expected dramatic shortage of doctors?

The CHR warns about the growing shortage of doctors. Until recently, they agreed to work overtime, in fact beyond their possibilities. However, now they terminate the so-called opt-out clause. This is the next stage of focusing people’s attention on the scale of the problem of underfunding of the health care system, after resident doctors’ hunger strike in autumn last year. The situation is dangerous for patients and thus the government should not limit itself to monitoring it; it should start a dialogue with doctors. This is of greatest importance, according to the CHR [more].

There are gaps in the regulations governing the placement of former prisoners in the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissocial Behaviours in Gostynin. The problem concerns 43 persons. The Commissioner explains what should be changed not only to avoid violation of the persons’ constitutional rights, but also not to hamper their treatment process [more].

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

The Commissioner for Human Rights intervened in the case of an attack on a 14-year-old girl in Warsaw. He inquired the prosecutor’s office whether the investigation of the case took into account the possibility of the perpetrator’s racist motivations [more].

How to improve the access of juvenile delinquents to defenders: the CHR's appeal to legal professional associations of lawyers [more].

The Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ombudsman for Children request the Prime Minister again to amend the regulations on the Child Maintenance Fund [more].

The CHR: road traffic regulations restrict the development of car-sharing in Poland

Under current regulations, vehicle’s registration document must be presented during a traffic police inspection. However, users of car-sharing, that is a system of shared use of passenger cars, in which cars are made available to users for short periods of time, do not have such documents. The CHR requested the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction to look into the matter [more].

The CHR's comments on the planned amendments to the Act on counteracting drug addiction

The Ministry of Health wants to amend the provisions of the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction, dating back to 2005, so as to make it possible to react faster to new substances appearing on the market (in particular the so-called designer drugs). The CHR indicates how to improve the draft amendment to make it clear which substances are illegal and since when [more].

The Commissioner inquires the Minister of Justice about the regulations which require judges to retire at a specific age [more].

The CHR on insufficient protection of the rights of owners of land classified as forest land [more].

A larger council flat for a family of three persons in a difficult health situation, thanks to the Commissioner's intervention [more].

The aspects proposed by the CHR will be audited by the Supreme Audit Office in 2018 [more].

LEGISLATION

The position of the Commissioner regarding the next version of the draft act on transparency of public life [more].

The Constitutional Tribunal agrees with the CHR that the provisions on expropriation have to be interpreted more favourably for citizens

The Tribunal has admitted that the concept of "expropriation" is to be understood more broadly. This related to a situation in which a citizen sold his real property to the state, being aware of the risk of expropriation for the so-called “public-sector investment purposes”. Still, he has the right to have the property returned to him because the property finally turned out not needed for the public sector investment [more].

The Supreme Court, in line with the CHR's arguments, adopted a position favourable for persons who sell farming land. In the opinion of the Court, a transaction which was started before the regulations on the trade in farming land changed (on 30 April 2016) may be finished under the regime of the previous regulations [more].

Amendments to the Act on mental health protection: improvement of the situation of incapacitated persons, as postulated by the CHR [more].

The Commissioner’s effective request for reinstatement of the proceeding concerning a counterfeit promissory note

The media inform about cases in which people lost their property because civil divisions of courts, based on forged promissory notes, issued judgments requiring those persons to pay large sums of money. Even if a court’s criminal division imposes a penalty on a person guilty of forging a signature, the consequences of the civil division’s judgment are not automatically eliminated. The Gdańsk-Północ [Gdańsk-North] District Court upheld the Commissioner's request to resume civil proceedings in the case in which a promissory note was bearing a forged signature [more].

A method of conducting an inspection of a company may be challenged before an administrative court. The Constitutional Tribunal shared the Commissioner’s position [more].

The Supreme Court: a spouse who is partially legally incapacitated has no legal capacity in the divorce proceedings: the Supreme Court’s position not in line with the arguments of the CHR [more].

The European Court of Human Rights on the key role of the right to peaceful demonstrations: the judgment in the case of Öğrü and others against Turkey [more].

THE CHRONICLE

Adam Bodnar attended the oath taking ceremony for attorneys [more].

Bethlehem Light of Peace in the CHR Office [more].

On 9 January a new elevator started to work at the CHR Office at ul. Długa. The historic building has been adjusted to the needs of persons with disabilities, which Adam Bodnar has been seeking since the beginning of his term of office in 2015. [more