Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 24-28 June 2019


What is happening behind closed doors? In isolated places that are not easily accessible and even more difficult to leave? What can be concluded from visits to places where people are deprived of their liberty?

The REPORT OF THE NATIONAL MECHANISM FOR THE PREVENTION OF TORTURE on its activities in 2018 is already available.

The National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture is a group of specialists who monitor the situation in places where people are deprived of their liberty, irrespective of their will.

These are:

  • police facilities – police stations and police rooms for detained persons
  • police emergency facilities for minors, youth supervision centres and youth correctional facilities
  • guarded centres for migrants
  • social welfare homes
  • 24-hour care facilities
  • psychiatric hospitals
  • nursing and treatment facilities
  • penitentiary facilities (prisons and pre-trial detention centres)
  • sobering up stations
  • Military Police detention facilities

The NMPT aims e.g. to counteract ill-treatment by the police after detention (see: the Ryki case, p. 30 of the report), to ensure appropriate assistance provision at sobering-up stations, to guarantee dignified treatment of seniors in nursing homes, to identify methods to improve conditions in prisons so as enable effective social rehabilitation of detainees, and to improve the situation of mentally ill patients.

Since 2008, NMPT experts employed by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights have been working pursuant to the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed and ratified by Poland. 


Candidature proposals are welcome for Dr Maciej Lis award granted by the CHR for outstanding achievements in the field of protecting the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. Candidates from all over Poland may be proposed by social organizations and universities. The proposals should be sent to: (more)

The content broadcast by the TVP channel’s „Wiadomości” news programme on the day of death of Gdańsk mayor Paweł Adamowicz did not violate people’s right to reliable information, concluded the National Broadcasting Council. This has been the Council’s reply to the CHR’s letter of intervention claiming that the content relating to hate speech used by politicians was one-sided and did not follow the principle of pluralism. (more)


  • After the theft of his ID card, a citizen had problems with his alleged debt. Thanks to the effective assistance of the CHR the issue has been resolved. (more)
  • A court partially incapacitated a mother of two children as it concluded she required assistance in her living matters because of her intellectual disability. However, she is able to take independent decisions such as ones regarding the separation from her violent partner, flat rental, and her child’s enrolment at school. After her incapacitation she will lose her parental powers regarding her children who, according to experts, are the main purpose of her life.  The Commissioner has filed a cassation appeal against the court’s judgment. (more)
  • Mr. Felix’s heirs were refused compensation for so-called property located on the other side of the Bug river because after 1945 he did not repatriate to Poland. Mr Feliks could not do this as he died in exile in Kazakhstan in 1943. The Administrative Court ruled that repatriation of the owner of property located on the other side of the Bug river, after 1945, is not a precondition for the compensation. During the court proceedings the heirs were supported by the Commissioner for Human Rights. (more)
  • Arguments regarding Polish judges were presented by the CHR before the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. The Commissioner joined one of the cases in which Polish judges requested the Tribunal to solve their doubts. They referred a question for a preliminary ruling, asking how they should adjudicate in a situation when they can be subject to disciplinary proceedings if their judgments are not in line with the policy of the ruling party. (more)
  • Provisions that make it possible to file and consider a cassation against to the disadvantage of a person in relation to whom the pardon of the President of the Republic of Poland has been applied are not consistent with the Constitution. The Constitutional Tribunal issued a judgment regarding the Prosecutor General’s motion submitted in connection with pardon regarding former head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau Mariusz Kamiński. (more)
  • The Internal Security Agency had the right not to disclose information on the number of agreements regarding on-line data transmission to the Agency. The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the cassation appeal of the Panoptykon foundation, that was joined by the CHR. The Court’s Administrative Court's judgment states that at the time of multiple risks to public safety, that safety has priority over the right of access to public information. (more)
  • The President of the National Bank of Poland is not required to disclose a list of persons about whom, in 1989-1997, the Bank president’s opinions were issued as about candidates for the positions of commercial bank presidents, adjudicated the Warsaw Provincial Administrative Court. The complaint regarding the matter was filed by the CHR. (more)


  • An ill citizen of Ukraine was left by his employer in a forest where he died. The Commissioner commenced an ex officio explanatory proceeding. He asked the Chief Labour Inspector whether inspection activities had been undertaken with regard to the employer, concerning among others legality of employment of foreigners, payment of social security and Employees Fund contributions as well as compliance with occupational health and safety regulations. (more)
  • A provision that prevented discrimination has been considered non-consistent with the Constitution by the Constitutional Tribunal. One of the articles of the Code of Misdemeanours was challenged by the Prosecutor General as a basis for considering that the printer who refused to print a poster for an LGBT foundation violated the regulations. Where will the protection be provided? (more)
  • The Commissioner commenced an ex officio explanatory proceeding regarding employee’s dismissal because of his religious belief.  The CHR has requested competent entities for information on the case. (more)


  • People in the crisis of homelessness deserve respect: a statement of the Expert Committee and the CHR regarding changes in the municipal regulations, proposed by one of the city councillors of Krakow. The councillor proposed, in practice, to limit such person’s stay in the public space in Krakow. (more)
  • Mr Andrzej and Ms Wiesława live in conditions that are against human dignity. They were formally provided assistance by the Sosnowiec social welfare municipal office. Mr Andrzej lived in an empty flat with bedbugs and rats , but he was forced to move out. Ms Wiesława lives in a basement room where coal is kept. The Commissioner for Human Rights is going to analyse the cases. (more)


  • In the case of repayment of a consumer loan in full, ahead of schedule, there should be a reduction of all related costs, of the loan, including the bank’s commission. This has been the Commissioner’s opinion presented to the Supreme Court that was examining a question of law. (more)
  • Owners of historic buildings complain that they may not carry out any works inside or outside them during the proceedings concerning their listing in the register of monuments. In the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the necessary works on should be permitted, under the supervision of a historic buildings inspector. (more)


Regulations on education of candidates for certified police specialists should be changed, believes the CHR. This concerns the previous principle of confirmation by the court that the candidate took part in hearings. The candidates  are required to attend at least three court hearings with the participation of court experts. (more)


More and more pedestrians are hit by cars at pedestrian crossings as they are insufficiently protected as road users. The CHR suggests a change of regulations so that pedestrians are protected event before they enter a crossing (as in some countries in Western Europe). However, the Ministry of Infrastructure does not see the necessity to transfer the regulations to the Polish legislation. (more)


Municipalities cannot themselves afford closure of waste landfills in cases when the landfill owner evades this. The costs can reach even several dozen million zlotys. The state should provide real assistance to municipalities in removing such waste. The CHR appealed to the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management to change the current programs so as to provide such support. The President of the Fund informed about a new priority programme for local governments. (more)


An activist of the anti-communist opposition was not explained the reasons for the Institute of National Remembrance president’s decision refusing the granting to her of the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity award. This may cause suspicion that she worked for the special services of the Polish People’s Republic as such persons may not be granted the award. The CHR has requested the Institute’s president to  consider a change of the regulations so as to inform interested parties of the reasons for refusing the award. (more)


The Commissioner has replied to the statement made by Paweł Kukiz: I wrote three letters to the club but got no reply, and without joint action the law cannot be changed. The CHR found some defective provisions in the Electoral Code, agreed with the MP and suggested cooperation and his experts’ support, as the Commissioner unlike the MPs has no power to take legislative initiative. (more)