Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 5 - 9 November 2018


WARSAW. The matter of the Warsaw marches: The CHR emphasized that it concerned the issue of constitutional freedom of public assembly. He also reminded that there are no regulations indicating how to proceed in the case of colliding assemblies organized by citizens and by representatives of the state authorities. (more)

WROCŁAW. The Commissioner is looking, ex-officio, into the matter of the independence march in Wrocław and the prohibition that was issued by the municipal authorities. (more)

“An avalanche changes its direction ...”. On 4 November in Bergen, Adam Bodnar received the Rafto Prize for the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office for the fight for human rights. (more)

Poland is at the crossroads today. Although it has taken a few steps towards a system called competitive authoritarianism, nothing has yet been decided. The process of changes has not ended. The institutional changes may stop and the resistance of the society may bring positive results, said Adam Bodnar on 8 November during a lecture delivered at the Center for European Studies at the Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. (more)

AFTER THE PUBLIC HOLIDAY. The Commissioner is looking into the matter of the fast procedure of making 12 November 2018 a public holiday, which was problematic for many citizens. (more)

The CHR has inquired the Prime Minister about the effects of work of the team for preventing the propagation of fascism and hate crimes. (more)

Do citizens have to pay so much for parking in hospital car parks? In reply to the CHR's intervention, the Minister of Health foresees changes in the law, but only with regard to car parks that are owned by hospitals. (more)

People who want to enter a forest sometimes may not, because of the signs that say "no entry". There should be a possibility to appeal to an administrative court against such prohibitions issued by forest administration authorities, wrote the CHR to the Minister of the Environment. (more)

Private property owners who question the grounds on which their properties have been included in local municipal heritage registers have no legal protection. Therefore, the CHR has joined the legal question addressed by the Supreme Administrative Court to the Constitutional Tribunal with regard to the issue. (more)

Judges Monika Frąckowiak and Arkadiusz Krupa were requested by judges’ representative for disciplinary matters to provide explanations regarding their participation in a court trial simulation during the Pol'and'Rock music festival. The CHR asked about the reasons for the request and stressed that court trial simulations help citizens understand the role of court in a democratic state ruled by law and have an important educational function. (more)

The extraction of sand without a permit was a reason for imposing on a citizen a cash penalty as well as a fine under administrative regulations, with the overall value of half a million zlotys. The CHR had doubts as to compliance with the Constitution of such a double system of penalties. However, the doubts were not shared by the Ministry of Energy in whose opinion administrative fines have a preventive function, while penalties under the criminal aw have a repressive function. (more)

The Commissioner reminded that every suspect should have a guaranteed right to effective and free contact with a lawyer at the earliest possible stage of the proceedings. The Ministry of Justice replied that the Polish regulations are consistent with the EU directive on the right of access to a lawyer, and therefore no amendments to the regulations are planned. (more)

A citizen complained that he had no right to be elected as member of a university governing body, as persons who are over 67 may not be elected. The CHR had doubts with regard to the matter and forwarded an inquiry about it to Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin. (more)

Shop owners send complaints to the Commissioner stating they are fined for selling products whose ingredients differ from the ones indicated on the product labels. The CHR wrote to the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection about his doubts concerning such practice of retail trade inspection authorities. The method of eliminating improper marking of products should rely on controlling producers rather than sellers. (more)

Barriers in access to minority religion lessons or ethics lessons may cause discrimination, admitted the Ministry of Education in response to the Commissioner's intervention letter. (more)

Bus drivers in big cities do not have guaranteed breaks between individual drives along their bus routes, warned the CHR. The Chief Inspector for Road Transport replied that the problem consists in the practices of companies which plan timetables and drivers’ work schedules. (more)

The Supreme Court annulled the Polish courts’ consent to extradite a Ukrainian citizen, suspected of a crime, to Russia. The cassation appeal was lodged by the Commissioner who argued that the courts had not clarified whether the extradition may lead to a violation of the freedoms and rights of the prosecuted person. (more)

In one of detention facilities, monitoring cameras were installed in the room for so-called unsupervised meetings in private. In another detention facility, the doors of such a room were removed. In the opinion of the CHR, this was against the intention of the legislator who wanted to provide to prisoners, as a form of reward, the possibility of having some freedom and privacy. The Commissioner requested Director General of the Prison Service to eliminate the irregularities. (more)

The CHR wrote to Minister Anna Zalewska: the Council on Children and Youth, supporting the Ministry of National Education, should be non-political and representative. (more)

Why should a prisoner in a wheelchair have to spend his time only in his cell? The CHR referred to the need to adjust penitentiary establishments to the needs of people with disabilities. (more)

Graduates of the National School of the Judiciary and Prosecutors complain about restrictions encountered in seeking district court judge position in the competition procedure. According to the CHR, this violates the constitutional principles. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice with regard to the issue. (more)