Godło RP

Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 7 - 11 January 2019

THE CIVIC FUND’S GRANT COMPETITION, FINANCED WITH THE RAFTO PRIZE BUDGET, FOR VILLAGE/SMALL TOWN INITIATIVES: APPLICATIONS TO BE SENT BY 31 JANUARY

The Civic Fund has launched a grant competition in which funding will be awarded within the  professor Thorolf Rafto prize that was awarded in 2018 to Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar, PhD and his Office for the fight for human rights and independent courts in Poland. The overall value of the grants is 83 thousand zł. The full amount will be awarded to supporting civic initiatives taking part in the competition. [more about the competition]

WHAT PROBLEMS WERE REPORTED BY PEOPLE IN THE CHR REGIONAL MEETINGS IN THE LUBELSKIE AND PODKARPACKIE PROVINCES

From 8 to 10 January, Adam Bodnar held CHR regional meetings with residents of the towns of Jarosław, Lubaczów, Biłgoraj, Świdnik and Lublin.

What did people ask about? How not to limit one’s activities to one’s home only:

  • how to ensure that the rights and dignity of people with intellectual disabilities (work, care services, seeking consent for medical procedures from people with cognitive impairment) are respected; what about the spouses’ right to submit joint tax statements in cases when one of the spouses is incapacitated?;
  • how to ensure that in small towns and villages snow is removed in wintertime, so that people can walk there and do not have to use cars (snow removal from pavements is an obligation of real property owners who are often getting old and have nobody to help them)?
  • what to do about the transport exclusion of residents of small towns and villages which have no transport connections with larger towns or cities and within their own areas either? This makes the lives of senior persons very difficult. Will the process of driving license verification not result in seniors losing access to specialized health care in hospitals, as those persons have to get there somehow?
  • how to improve the work of courts; how to react to cases of law abuse by members of public authorities; does civic opposition to non-compliance with the Constitution make sense?

And:

  • how to solve problems with personnel shortages in medical care (low earnings, increased limits of working hours)?
  • how to really help refugees, and how to deal with the excessively long procedures of issuing work permits to foreign citizens?
  • how to solve the continuously emerging various problems of tenants of buildings subject to property restitution?
  • how to make it easier for families to solve conflicts, including in cases where family members are in different countries? what to do with the lengthy family court procedures? how to ensure that the rights of fathers are observed?

And finally

  • what can be done about the announced large-scale hunting of wild boars?

What else happened at the CHR Office?

The CHR’s next intervention regarding apartments taken over in return for fraudulent loans. (more)

The conscience clause– the CHR’s opinion on the Senate’s bill amending the law. (more)

Persons in the crisis of homelessness will be able to vote in elections. After the Commissioner’s intervention, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration replied that the government completed the works on amending the law and that the amendments came into force on 12 December 2018 (more)

What about the policy on seniors? The CHR has inquired the Ministry of Labour about the next session of the UN Working Group on Aging. (more)

The UN Global Compact agreement concerning migrants does not ensure the security of Poland and may encourage illegal migration, is the opinion of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. This has been the ministry’s response to the Commissioner’s inquiry about Poland not becoming a party to the agreement. (more)

During a school lesson on prevention, held at a primary school, a female police officer as a result of pupils’ behaviour that was assessed by her as inappropriate, requested them to provide their personal data and contact data of their parents. She threatened that she might enter the kids’ names into the National Penal Register. The CHR has requested the police commander to provide explanations on the case. (more)

SYSTEM OF JUSTICE

The possibility of detaining a person who is temporarily staying in Poland and has been accused of committing an offence that is subject to the penalty of a fine only is non-compliant with the Constitution, has ruled the Constitutional Tribunal. The judgment is in line with the Commissioner’s opinion. (more)

Polish courts lack over 700 judges. According to the CHR, such a shortage of personnel (amounting to 7% of the overall number of jobs) translates into the excessive duration of proceedings, which impacts people’s lives. The Ministry of Justice has announced that the vacant positions will soon be filled. (more)

Mr Ryszard may receive compensation for his ungrounded detention. The Supreme Court has accepted the Commissioner’s appeal and ordered the appellate court to re-examine the case. (more)

One of the participants of a car crash had no possibility to challenge the judgment issued with regard to the other participant. The Supreme Court has accepted the Commissioner’s appeal and ordered the case to be re-examined. (more)

Differences in parking fees in Kraków. The Voivodeship Administrative Court has agreed with the Commissioner’s complaint. (more)

In criminal proceedings, the proposed hearing of witnesses in the absence of the accused or the defender is non-compliant with the right to defence; this has been one of the CHR’s objections to the proposed bill amending the Code of Criminal Procedure. (more)

THE RIGHT TO PUBLIC INFORMATION

Does the number of homicides constitute public information that the police are required to make available? The Commissioner has doubts concerning the refusal by a police station, and has requested an explanation. (more)

The President of the National Bank of Poland did not publish opinions on the candidates for the positions of banks’ presidents. The Commissioner has challenged this decision before the Voivodeship Administrative Court. (more)

RIGHTS OF PERSONS DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIBERTY

Persons deprived of their liberty do not have access to the websites of EU institutions (europa.eu). The Commissioner has contacted Deputy Director General of the Prison Service with regard to the issue. (more)

Hostels are planned next to prisons. The Commissioner has inquired about the details of the idea. (more)

THE CHRONICLE

You can become heroes, said Adam Bodnar to attorneys upon the end of their traineeship period and the oath taking ceremony on 7 January 2019 in Warsaw. (more)

Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar met with US Ambassador to Poland, Ms Georgette Mosbacher. The talks focused on key problems concerning the observance of human rights. (more)

In the Parliament of the Republic of Poland, the third meeting of the Parliamentary Team for the Prevention of Hate Speech and Human Rights Protection was held. In the meeting, an updated version of the "church map of paedophiles" was presented, and information was given on the establishment of the Warsaw Centre for Assistance to Victims of Paedophilia. (more)

How do politicians try to influence independent courts, and even subordinate them to political powers? What contributes to this, and what helps to maintain their independence? These were some of the subjects discussed during the debate co-organized by the CHR Office and the INPRIS Institute for Law and Society. (more)