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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland June 27- July 3

Newsletter 27 June – 3 July 2016

MOST IMPORTANT MATTERS

Will Mr. K. leave the Nursing Home?

The Constitutional Tribunal has declared unconstitutional the provisions that do not provide any chance for legally incapacitated persons to check, whether they are locked in a Nursing Home due to a legitimate purpose [learn more].

[SEE ALSO: What is incapacitation, what does it give, and what does it take away – interview with an expert from the Office of the Commissioner, Director Anna Błaszczak, on YouTube].

How to protect the interests of the child, when there is a conflict between the parents?

When parents get divorced, they often forget about what is most important – that in such situations, it is the child who suffers most. Therefore, the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar and the Children's Ombudsman Marek Michalak decided to support the youngest citizens and called on the Minister of Justice to increase the representation of the child in care proceedings [learn more].

THE COMMISSIONER IN CITIZENS' MATTERS

The case of Mrs. Katarzyna, an employee of a security agency

Mrs. Katarzyna was an employee of a security agency – firstly on the basis of an employment contract, and later on – on the basis of a contract for mandate, although her tasks and work have not changed. In March, the Commissioner joined the case against the employer for proving the existence of an employment relationship. Now, the Court of First Instance found in favour of Mrs. Katarzyna: her contract for mandate was actually an employment contract [learn more].

The rights of security employees

The Commissioner approached the Minister of the Interior and Administration in relation to legal provisions allowing for the removal from the list of qualified security personnel in the security industry [learn more].

Commissioner: a seven-day period for an appeal against the termination of an employment contract is too short

Mr. Krzysztof has suddenly lost his work. The shock was huge. The family sent him to a physician, and he said that the symptoms of shock should pass within a week. If not, then they need to seek help. After seven days, Mr. Krzysztof felt better and realised that the employer violated the law, but... the seven-day time limit for bringing an appeal in labour court has passed [learn more].

The dispute over a road: the Commissioner's cassation

Mr. P. has opened the gate to his grounds in such a way, that others could not use the road. The Court found Mr. P. guilty of the offence of obstructing traffic on an internal road and sentenced him to a fine of 1,000 PLN. While examining this case, the Commissioner noted that – in accordance with the law – such a road is not a public road, and therefore Mr. P. cannot be held responsible for such a misdemeanour [learn more].

The case of a license plate: the Commissioner's cassation

Mr. A. was sentenced to suspended sentence of 18 months' imprisonment for removing the license plate from a two-wheeled trailer. However, in this case, the Court and the Prosecutor have applied a wrong legal provision, determining the license plate to be a document [learn more].

Human rights violations by Police Officers

How does the Police prevent human rights violations made by officers? – The Minister of the Interior and Administration explains in his response to the Commissioner's motion [learn more]. It is important also in the context of the case taken after a regional meeting in Skierniewice, which involved a statement on brutal behaviour of Police Officers [learn more].

Provision of meals to persons detained by the Police

Persons who have been detained by the Police and are involved in legal proceedings for many hours, do not receive any meals or beverages during this time. The Commissioner has approached the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior and Administration in this matter [learn more].

Attendance benefit for taking care of an adult disabled person

A man has applied for attendance benefit for taking care of his mother, who possesses a certified significant disability, with no indication of the date of the disability. The application was refused, and the decision was upheld by the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Poznań. The Commissioner has joined the proceedings before the Supreme Administrative Court [learn more].

The right to social housing – an announcement of changes

Mrs. Kowalska – and older, sickly and disabled person has received the right to a social apartment by way of an eviction sentence. Today, however, it is so that she must wait in the apartment subject to eviction (and it could, for example, be to large for her, generating excessive living costs) until the owner submits an application for a social flat at the municipality. In its response to the Commissioner's motion, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction promises to amend the law [learn more].

LAW

Determining the boundaries of municipalities

The Council of Ministers, by way of regulation, determines the boundaries of municipalities.  The lack of any control over these regulations infringes the rights of municipalities and the communities of inhabitants that form them. The Commissioner has approached the Prime Minister in this matter [learn more].

The right to a fair trial

Granting a court-assigned professional representative should be mandatory in relation to a persons who are party to proceedings for placing in a psychiatric hospital without consent [learn more].

Prevention tests for alcohol content

The matter of preventive check-ups of alcohol content in the body of drivers or other persons should be explicitly regulated at statutory level – the Minister shared the view of the Commissioner [learn more].

The provisions on enforcement costs have to be amended

The Constitutional Tribunal has shared the Commissioner's position: provisions of the Act on Enforcement Proceedings, which are formulated in an adverse way for taxpayers, should be amended [learn more].

Protection of whistleblowers is not a task for the Ministry of Labour – explains the Ministry

The Council for Social Dialogue should consider the matter of granting greater protection to whistleblowers – answers the Minister of Family to the Commissioner's motion. She also explains how was this issue considered in the former Ministry of Labour and Social Policy [learn more].

The System Analysis Team at the Chancellery of the President began working

As decided by the Chief of the Chancellery of the President, the System Analysis Team was established on 19 May 2016 and is composed of the representatives of the Chancellery of the President, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the Children's Ombudsman, the Office of the Financial Ombudsman and the Office of the Patients' Ombudsman [learn more].

SOCIETY

On the rights of persons with disabilities

– We think that if we care about economic growth, if the country is developing, then all problems will solve themselves. The issue of people with disabilities, however, requires a very large imagination and focus on the needs of the individual – says the Commissioner for Human Rights Dr Adam Bodnar in an interview for WatchDogPFRON [full interview].

The lack of proper cooperation between the children institutions

A child temporarily placed in a youth educational centre retains all privileges of the residents of correctional facilities – the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy confirmed in response to the Commissioner's motion. Meanwhile, foster care institutions refuse to take their own residents from youth education centres during holidays [learn more].

The Patients' Ombudsman explains: the woman from the Holy Family Hospital had the right to decide about abortion

The explanation came after the Commissioner intervened on media reports about the possibility of terminating pregnancy at the Holy Family Specialised Hospital in Warsaw [learn more].

The European Court of Human Rights considers the case of a Polish prisoner

The case concerns a prisoner who complained on the overcrowding of his jail cell and improper medical care, as well as an unjustified restriction of the right to practice his religion [learn more].

Parental kidnapping – the response of the Minister of Justice

Amendments are underway, but the Ministry does not monitor this phenomenon. A parental kidnapping takes place when one of the parents removes or retains the child and deprives the other from the possibility of maintaining contact with the child [learn more].

What the Commissioner did in relation to the surveillance of journalists by special services in 2007-15

The Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar is examining the matter since 30 December 2015, when media information began to appear („Policja podsłuchiwała dziennikarzy, którzy ujawnili aferę taśmową” at the Kulisy24 website; „Policja podsłuchiwała dziennikarzy i prawników? Znamy wyniki audytu” at wiadomosci.radiozet.pl) [learn more].

Third meeting of the Alimony Experts' Team.

600,000 children do not receive any child support from their parent or the State. The third meeting of the Alimony Experts' Team was held in the Office of the Commissioner. Its members try to develop systemic mechanisms that would allow to improve the situation regarding child maintenance [full coverage of the meeting].

The Golden Book of Best Practices for Social Participation of Elderly Persons – we're collecting applications until 10 July

There are more and more applications concerning good practices, therefore we'd like to give ourselves – and You – a little more time. We're postponing the deadline for the descriptions of projects carried out by self-government institutions and non-governmental institutions to 10 July 2016 [learn more].

CHRONICLE

The summer internship programme at the Office of the Commissioner has launched

Dr Adam Bodnar has initiated a new internship programme for law students at the Office of the Commissioner. Interns will participate in lectures – meetings with experts from all of the teams at the Office of the Commissioner, as well as with experts from other institutions [learn more].

Meeting with the Human Rights Section of the District Bar Association

A meeting between the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Section of the District Bar Association was held at the Office of the Commissioner [learn more].

Meeting with the representatives of the Polish Allotment Federation

A meeting between the representatives of the Polish Allotment Federation and the Commissioner for Human Rights was held on June 30 [learn more].

Krzysztof Olkowicz on alternatives to imprisonment

The Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Krzysztof Olkowicz took part in the "Alternatives to Imprisonment – The European Perspective" conference, which was held at the official seat of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights [learn more].

The Commissioner for Human Rights in social media

We invite you to watch and subscribe to the channel of the Commissioner for Human Rights on YouTube. There you will find, among others, reports from regional meetings and conversations with employees of the Office of the Commissioner. We also encourage you to visit the profile of Regional Meetings with the Commissioner for Human Rights on Facebook.