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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 25 July - 1 August 2016

Newsletter 25 July – 1 August 2016

MOST IMPORTANT MATTERS

Another visit to Opole and Dobrzeń Wielki – a mediation meeting concerning the change of city limits

A mediation meeting with all stakeholders, organised on the initiative of the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar, was held at the seat of the Bar Association in Opole. It concerned the extension of city limits. The parties to the dispute agreed on starting talks between the city of Opole and individual municipalities and representatives of the Opole Poviat, which will also be financially affected by the change to the city boundaries [details of the arrangements].

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS' MATTERS

The right to petition

Petitions to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland can also be submitted via e-mail – as confirmed by the Head of the Chancellery of the Sejm after the Commissioner's motion [learn more].

The rights of incapacitated persons – statement of reasons of the CT's judgement

In June, the Constitutional Tribunal declared unconstitutional the provisions that do not provide incapacitated persons with any chance to see whether they are confined in nursing homes for a legitimate reason. The Office of the Commissioner has just received a statement of reasons to this judgement [learn more].

The effect of the regional meeting in Białystok. Changes to the health insurance of family members (eWUŚ)

After the Commissioner's motion, the Minister of Health announces changes covering cases, when a family member of an insured person enters into employment for a short period of time. After the leaving the job, such persons are excluded from the eWUŚ system, despite the fact that they are still eligible for receiving medical care. The citizens of Białystok have informed the Commissioner of this issue [learn more].

The effect of the regional meeting in Gorzów Wielkopolski. Announcement of changes to the regulations on minimum wage

Participants of the regional meeting in Gorzów Wielkopolski reported a problem of unjust regulations concerning the minimum wage to the Commissioner: if someone is entitled to a service premium, and is to receive a minimum wage, their basic salary is reduced by this premium. Therefore, someone with a greater length of service receives a lower salary than a novice. The Minister announces amendments in response to the Commissioner's motion [learn more].

Response provided by the Police concerning seizing computer hardware for the purposes of legal proceedings

People write to the Commissioner that that entire devices (laptops, PCs, mobile phones) are seized in relation to preparatory proceedings regarding cybercrime (especially in cases concerning copyright violations). As a consequence, one cannot work, maintain contact with friends, use their bank accounts, children do not have access to the devices, and it takes several months or even longer.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Police declared that the Police will strive to make securing digital evidence the least burdensome for citizens [learn more].

Recruitment for higher education for persons with the so-called "old Matura exam"

The Commissioner is receiving complaints from people who passed the so-called "old Matura exam" (before the year 2004/2005) and currently they cannot study at universities, because the results of the exam are not recognised in the admission process. The Commissioner approached the Minister of Science and Higher Education with this issue [learn more].

SOCIETY

The Minister responds on the matter of alimony debtors

Various amendments to the criminal law are analysed in the Ministry of Justice to punish for wilful evasion of child support more effectively. The works, however, are at a preliminary stage. There is still no Interdepartmental Group to deal with the matter. The Ministry's response is the result of numerous motions of the Commissioner, who – together with the Ombudsman for Children – deals with the problem of alimony, and what to do, to make people pay for the upbringing of their children [learn more].

Testing drivers for drug presence

The Minister of the Interior and Administration shared the position of the Commissioner, that the Police should more actively test drivers for the presence of other psychoactive substances than alcohol in their organisms [learn more].

Preventive sobriety tests for drivers

The Commissioner approached the Prime Minister with a request to indicate the Ministry competent for legislative changes and legitimization of preventive sobriety tests for drivers conducted by the Police [learn more].

Prisoners' access to public information

The Commissioner requested the Director General of the Prison Service to provide persons deprived of liberty with access to additional websites containing the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and basic information on the Court. Currently, prisoners can use Public Information Bulletin of selected institutions [learn more].

Reimbursement for the attendance of witnesses

There are no provisions that unambiguously regulate who should cover the costs of summoning witnesses over the course of investigations carried out by municipal police. The Commissioner approached the Minister of Justice in this matter [learn more].

LAW

The rights of persons with intellectual disabilities

The Commissioner approached the Prime Minister regarding the lack of systemic solutions on how to deal with people affected by mental or intellectual disability, who participate in criminal proceedings [learn more].

Different rights in different prisons?

In his motion to the Director General of the Prison Service, the Commissioner for Human Rights provides examples of irregularities in internal arrangements of various prison units and asks to eliminate them. The point is that the prisoners have different rights in different prisons [learn more].

The requirement of no previous disciplinary record in the case of judicial assistants

Vague rules on standing for the office of senior judicial assistant constitute the subject matter of the Commissioner's motion to the Minister of Justice [learn more].

CHRONICLE

Deputy Commissioner at the celebration of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising

Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Stanisław Trociuk participated in the celebration of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, which took place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier [learn more].

The first students have completed their summer internships at the Office of the Commissioner

– We'd like to thank you for your hard work and commitment to the protection of human rights.  I hope that you will use the experience you gained here in your further scientific and professional career – said dr Adam Bodnar when summing up the first month of summer internships at the Office of the Commissioner [learn more].

Adam Bodnar at the plenary session of the National Council of the Judiciary

The Commissioner for Human Rights dr Adam Bodnar participated in the plenary meeting of the National Council of the Judiciary [learn more].

Adam Bodnar for Onet: Francis – a friend of citizens

– The arrival of the Pope does not free us from social problems, but can constitute major support for the institutions and people who seek to solve them – Adam Bodnar writes in his comment for Onet.pl prior to the arrival of the Pope to Poland [full article].

The Commissioner at the ceremony welcoming Pope Francis in Kraków

The Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar participated in the ceremony welcoming Pope Francis, who came to Poland for the World Youth Day [learn more].

Meeting with the General Commander of Armed Forces Branches

The Commissioner for Human Rights dr Adam Bodnar and his deputy Col. Krzysztof Olkowicz met with the General Commander of Armed Forces Branches Lt. Gen. Mirosław Różański [learn more].

A discussion about patients' rights

Commissioner Adam Bodnar and his Deputy Sylwia Spurek met with the Patients' Rights Ombudsman Krystyna Kozłowska [learn more].

The Commissioner's patronages

The Commissioner for Human Rights took Honorary Patronage over the "Handbook for Migrants" – an initiative carried out under the "Welcome to Lublin 3" project [learn more].