Commissioner for Human Rights

According to ‘Rzeczpospolita’ the Government won't take care of intolerance


‘The PiS administration eliminates or restricts the operation of institutions which fight against xenophobia and discrimination’. PiS intends to dissolve the Council for the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. According to the journalist Wiktor Ferfecki (‘Rzeczpospolita’, March 21st, 2016), the Ministry of Digital Affairs is already working on a draft order on this matter.

The Council has been working since February 2013. It includes, among others, the representatives of several ministries, and a Consultative Council made up of experts has been established alongside it. In 2013 it organised a conference on hate speech, which was attended by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland.

The dissolving of the Council is officially explained as a matter of pure formality. The spokesman for the Ministry of Digitization quoted by ‘Rzeczpospolita’ explains that, as the Ministry of Administration and Digitization has been transformed to the Ministry of Digitization, the Council deals ‘with issues that are outside of our jurisdiction’.

‘Rzeczpospolita’ adds however some background information which allows to grasp the full context: at the beginning of the year, the new plenipotentiary for equal treatment has been appointed.  In PO's government, this position was assumed by well-known feminists – Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz and Professor Małgorzata Fuszara. In the PiS administration they were replaced by Wojciech Kaczmarczyk, rather unknown among non-governmental activists. He not only became the plenipotentiary for equal treatment, but also for civil society. And he gave priority to the latter.

Afterwards, Sejm cut the budget of the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar by almost 10 million PLN. The reason? PiS MPs alleged that he promotes gender ideology.

The Deputy Minister of Defence Bartosz Kownacki (PiS) says that the government simply does not want to follow left-wing ideologies. Wiktor Ferfecki quotes him saying: ‘Why should we offer gays and lesbians special treatment? Maybe we should establish a plenipotentiary for the rights of the left-handed?  Contrary to what one might expect, they are discriminated against in some workplaces’.