Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 23 - 29 August 2016

Newsletter 23 - 29 August 2016


Good nutrition in hospitals is a right of patients

Patient nutrition is an integral part of the treatment process and is a factor supporting medical procedures, reminded the Commissioner for Human Rights in his request to the Minister of Health to address the issue [more, including a video explaining why the Commissioner looks into the matter and what can be done about it].

How were the rights of persons deprived of liberty respected in 2015?

The Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report on the work of the National Prevention Mechanism in 2015 [more, including an extract of the report and a video from a press conference in which the Commissioner Office employees accessibly explain the significance of the problem]

Invitation to a regional meeting in the Lubelskie voivodeship

On 13 -16 September, all residents from the Lubelskie voivodeship are invited to attend meetings with the Commissioner for Human Rights. It will be possible to meet with us in: Puławy, Opole Lubelskie, Kraśnik, Zamość, Chełm and Lublin.

·         [schedule of meetings]

·         [link to meeting registration form].

Statement of reasons for the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgement of 11 August

The Constitutional Tribunal has forwarded to the Commissioner for Human Rights a copy of the judgement of 11 August on the so-called Constitutional Tribunal “improvement” act of 22 July 2016, together with the statement of reasons for the judgement and the dissenting opinions [more].


The news service of the Commissioner for Human Rights now offers access to maps which present activities of the Commissioner in the country’s regions. In particular, the readers are invited to look at the map of meetings with the Commissioner in the individual regions (see the home page). It contains links to videos from the meetings and to descriptions of the results of works undertaken by the Commissioner as a result of those meetings.

Readers are also invited to look at the calendar of the Commissioner’s work and of meetings held with the participation of, or under the auspices of, the Commissioner – see home page:



May employees wear religious symbols at work?

Discrete manifestation of one’s religious belief and the wearing of a religious symbol at the workplace do not violate the rights and freedoms of other persons. The wearing of a religious symbol by a bank employee should therefore be considered a lawful expression of her freedom to manifest her religious beliefs - wrote Adam Bodnar in a letter to the Forum of Polish Jews after the forum presented the story of a female employee offended by a customer in a bank [more].

The case of Mr. Tomasz: the rights of victims of traffic accidents

The Speaker of the Senate informed the Commissioner for Human Rights about referring the problem of depletion of the guaranteed amount of insurance coverage for victims of traffic accidents in the 1990s to the Committee on Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions [more].

University recruitment process based on the chronology of applications?

In the process of recruitment to the Physical Education University in Poznań, the candidates were waiting in long queues because admission to the university was dependent on the order in which the applications were submitted. In the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights, this should not have happened. The Commissioner referred the matter the Minister of Science and Higher Education [more].

What instead of the in vitro refund programme?

The Ministry of Health informed the Commissioner about the measures which will replace the current in vitro treatment refund programme [more].

The case of students of the State Higher Vocational School in Oświęcim

The Commissioner requested the Minister of Science and Higher Education to take action in connection with the irregularities in the functioning of the State Higher Vocational School in Oświęcim, in the field of cooperation between the school governing body and the student government [more].


Public incitement to hatred

After the cassation appeal of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the court will reconsider the case relating to insulting the Roma minority. The Supreme Court referred the case back to the district court for reconsideration and recommended: "When reconsidering the case, the District Court shall maintain appropriate discipline of thought. The Court, therefore, shall not assess the facts from the point of view of the court’s own observations and ideas, and shall consider the Roma residents of the town of Maszkowice as Polish citizens - members of an ethnic minority (considering them as immigrants would have to be proven). The court shall not justify the behaviour of the defendant by the fact that similar xenophobic statements are made in other European Union countries. The court shall also bear in mind that the fact of acting under the influence of emotions does not preclude responsibility for committed offences but may only impact the assessment of the degree of the act’s harmfulness for the society, if the emotions were to a certain extent justified [more].

May bailiffs impose penalty payments for failure to appear in the bailiff’s office to provide explanations?

Some bailiffs impose penalty payments, in the amount of 2 thousand zł, on persons who fail to appear in the bailiff’s office to provide explanations. However, according to the law, a penalty payment may be imposed only if the person called to provide explanations has refused to do so [more].

Electronic surveillance of persons convicted for non-payment of the alimony

The Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ombudsman for Children appeal once again to make it possible for all those convicted for non-payment of the alimony to perform paid work under the system of electronic surveillance (SES) [more].

Paramedics should have a broader scope of responsibilities

The Commissioner for Human Rights has applied to the Minister of Health for taking a legislative initiative to make it possible to employ paramedics at detoxification detention centres. Paramedics would be responsible for activities connected with the reception, medical care and release of persons placed at such centres [more].

Do the statutes of the Polish Association of Allotment Garden Holders restrict the rights of the garden holders?

The Office of the Commissioner has received complaints regarding non-compliance of a number of provisions of the statutes of the Polish Association of Allotment Garden Holders with the law, and complaints regarding abuse of rights by the governing bodies of the Association. The Commissioner has requested the President of the Polish Association of Allotment Garden Holders to provide explanations [more].

About religious freedoms in the world

The United States Department of State has published the 2015 International Religious Freedom Report. One of the parts of the document relates to Poland [more].


Out of the play, or when does the probation period start?

The current criminal law provisions relating to the duration of probation period are constructed in a way which, in fact, extends the time for which the person concerned may not seek any public function and pursue certain professions, even if the committed offence was characterized by small harmfulness for the society. The Commissioner requested the Minister of Justice to look into the problem [more].

The Commissioner’s intervention will result in changes in the rights of organ doors

The Minister of Health agreed with the Commissioner and announced that legislation on the rights of donors and special-status organ donors will be made more precise so as to avoid any doubts [more].

How is correspondence controlled at juvenile detention centres?

Inspections of the National System of Preventive Institutions revealed that there is no uniform practice in dealing with correspondence of young citizens at juvenile detention centres, shelters for minors and youth care centres. The Commissioner referred the issue to the Minister of Justice [more].

How to appeal against a consul’s decision to refuse a visa?

If a consul refuses a visa to a foreigner - a citizen of a non-member state of the EU, the citizen may apply for reconsideration of the case. According to the Commissioner, there should also be the possibility to appeal against the decision to the administrative court [more].

Implementation of recommendations on security measures at prison facilities

The Commissioner asked Director General of the Prison Service to take a position on the implementation of certain recommendations on security measures at prison facilities. The recommendations relate e.g. to the holding of medical consultations in the presence of Prison Service officers, and the preventive use of handcuffs [more].


A lecture by the Commissioner for Human Rights in Poznań

During the summer course at the Poznań Centre for Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar, Ph.D., gave a lecture on the refugee crisis in the context of human rights protection [more]