Commissioner for Human Rights

Newsletter 1 – 9 May 2016


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Newsletter from 1st to 9th May 2016


Adam Bodnar during the Constitution Day

“It is a holiday that emphasizes the importance of the Consitution for regulating our social life, the relation between an individual and a state. It is a holiday which determines why the citizens must be equal before law, why everyone must obey constitution,” said the Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, in a special recording for the Anniversary of the Constitution of 3rd May.

Adam Bodnar talked to a papal nuncio Celestino Migliore

The Commissioner for Human Rights met the papal nuncio in Poland, His Excellency Archbishop Celestino Migliore. The conversation concerned e.g. actions for the homeless and help provided by the Church, poverty, exclusion, as well as crimes motivated by hatred and prejudices [more].


An application to the Constitutional Tribunal about transferring prosecutors

New act on public prosecutors allows for treating prosecutors in a way that diminishes all of their previous professional achievements. The reorganisation of prosecution has become a basis for a wholly arbitrary employee verification because the act does not contain any criteria for its execution. The Commissioner submitted an application to the Constitutional Tribunal [more].

Public consultations on a draft act on counter-terrorism measures will be held in the Commissioner’s office

“We cannot reduce the debate to whether we support terrorists or not. The debate about the draft act on counter-terrorism measures should be serious, and public opinion ought to know what the changes are about. We must speak”, said Adam Bodnar when he was summing up a consultation meeting concerning the draft act [report, first conclusions and a film with comments from the participants].

An application to the Tribunal concerning operational control

The Commissioner submitted an application to the Constitutional Tribunal concerning the rules of using evidence obtained through operational control. According to the Commissioner, they violate such constitutional rights and freedoms as a right to privacy, communication secrecy and inviolability of home.

Acceleration of proceedings concerning violence in family

A person who experiences violence in family may go to court to force the perpetrator to leave the house that they both occupy. However, it appears from the case examined in the office of the Commissioner that a fast conclusion to court proceedings in these matters is very hard to achieve in practice. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice and asked whether the Ministry intends to undertake activities which would improve courses of such proceedings [more].

Revocation of fines

People who were punished with a fine in penalty notice proceedings indicate in their complaints to the Commissioner the limited possibilities of revoking a final fine. Despite introducing changes to provisions in accordance with the Commissioner’s applications, the currently binding legal situation still poses objections. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice to expand a list of reasons for the revocation of a final fine and a possibility for claiming compensation in case of such a revocation [more].

Does Poland need a new constitution - a debate organised by the Independent Student Association of the University of Warsaw

“Changes to the Constitution may be far-reaching - I propose these which would increase the scope of rights and freedoms, but a possibility in itself does not mean that we should change the Constitution at this moment,” said Adam Bodnar during a debate organised by the Independent Student Association of the University of Warsaw [more].

Reduction of area payments

The Commissioner receives many complaints from farming co-operatives concerning the reduction of a single area payment. Current legal situation does not take into account big farming entities which are granted such a reduction, especially the special character of farming co-operatives. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development  about this issue [more]

Are construction works, the performance of which does not require a building permit or notification, subjected to construction supervision?

The Supreme Administrative Court of Poland registered under the file no. II OPS 1/16 a legal concept presented to the Commissioner for consideration. The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling will explain whether construction works and objects, the execution of which does not require building permit or notification, are subjected to construction supervision in the aspect of their conformity with construction law, including technical and construction provisions [more].

The act on certified auditors

In connection to works on a draft act on certified auditors, the Commissioner decided to present to the Minister of Finance the most important requests contained in his earlier addresses concerning this issue [more].

People who illegaly use land and subsidies

The Commissioner receives complaints concerning subsidies which are granted to people who use land illegally. The adopted legal solutions are not sufficient in the Commissioner’s view. This is why the Commissioner addressed the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development about changing the provisions in a way that would enable the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture to verify the possession of agricultural land [more].

Charges for municipal waste

Citizens’ complaints indicate that the applicable rules of managing municipal waste are in need of change. Objections concern a flat-rate fee for managing municipal waste for the owners of real property used during part of the year for tourism. Charges for municipal waste increased several times. The Commissioner informs the Minister of Environment about the problem of owners of such  property in an address [more].

The cooperation of the Commissioner with Police and the ITAKA foundation concerning missing people

Ethics of searching for missing people was discussed during the meeting of the Commissioner with the human rights plenipotentiaries from Province Police Stations, the Central Investigative Office of Police, police schools and the Centre of Searching for Missing People from the Polish Police Headquarters.  Representatives of the ITAKA foundation also took part in the meeting [more].


A meeting with students from the Erasmus programme

Foreign students who study in Poland as part of the Erasmus+ programme talked with Adam Bodnar about the atmosphere that surrounds them in our country. The Commissioner organised this meeting after he had learnt during a regional meeting in Konin about attacks on foreign students [more].


The Commissioner on the liquidation of the Council on the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance Related to Them

“The decision about the liquidation of the Council is inexplicable and may be negatively received also internationally,” the Commissioner commented  on the liquidation of the Council on the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance Related to Them. The Commissioner’s statement may be found on the website

About the effectiveness of the act on equal treatment

The Commissioner presented to the Government Plenipotentiary on Civil Society and Equal Treatment an assessment of effectiveness of regulations contained in the act on equal treatment. He also expressed hope that the cooperation of both institutions in the scope of preventing and combating discrimination may lead to the popularisation of knowledge on applicable anti-discriminatory provisions [more].

The Commisioner met with Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz

Adam Bodnar met with Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz, Ph.D., a member of the European Parliament and the Governemnt Plenipotentiary on Equal Treatment from 2011 to 2014. The conversation concerned human rights, prevention of discrimination, promoting principles of equal treatment, and challanges which the European Parliament is going to face.

An accessibility of religion lessons for believers of minority religions and ethics lessons

In the address to the Minister of Education, the Commissioner presented recommendations contained in the report entitled „Accessibility of religion lessons for believers of minority faiths and ethics lessons in the system of school education.” . The Commissioner asked for their analysis and consideration of amendments to applicable provisions concerning this issue [more].

Minister Antoni Macierewicz agrees with the Commissioner on the protection of female soldiers' right

A four-month-pregnant woman dismissed from professional military service addressed the Commissioner. When the Commissioner examined this case, he recognised that current provisions do not guarantee female soldiers a sufficient protection and addressed the Minister of National Defence. Antoni Macierewicz admitted in his response that it is necessary to develop additional solutions and proposed an amendment act concerning this issue [more].

Education of mentally disabled children

Children and teenagers with a serious mental disability function in fact outside the educational system, even though the state’s constitutional obligation is to provide all citizens with a universal and equal access to education. Mentally disabled children do not have a status of students, and there is no division into age groups during lessons or into particular educational stages. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Education to consider a potential change of provisions concerning this issue [more].


Envelope of life - action for elderly people in Slask

The Commissioner joined the action Envelope of life in Slask. Its purpose is to help elderly or ill people who because of their health cannot always provide full information to rescue services [more].

An elderly person is entitled to independent life and social integration - the Commissioner at the “Elderly Citizen” Congress

Adam Bodnar was a guest during the second day of the “Elderly Citizen” Congress, which was organised for the fifth time in Park Slaski. He said that seniors, also those whose elderly age means limitations and illness, are as entitled as other people to decide about themselves, to independent life and to be included in social life [more]

Regulations concerning private nursing homes are required

The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy about the changes to provisions pursuant to which private nursing homes operate to prevent a repeat of publicised cases of violations of rights of the elderly, ill and disabled people who reside in such homes [more].

Once more about the action “For your old age and ours!”

To celebrate the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, invites to a common action entitled “For your old age and ours!”. Creating a strong group of senior and civic organisation as well as active residents will help to inform elderly people about the planned Convention and to include their voice in a wider debate.  [information and a participation form].


Do people with mental or intellectual disability serve sentences in Polish prisons? - results of the Commissioner’s actions

Upon the Commissioner’s request, the Regional Court in Gdansk resumed proceedings in the case of Mr. Patryk. He is one of the people whom the employees of the Office of the Commissioner were able to contact. As a result of an investigation, they determined that people with mental or intellectual disability who should not be in prisons do reside in penitentiary institutions  [more].

A telephone contact with a lawyer

The rules of contacting an attorney or a legal adviser for all detained should be uniform, clear and precise. This includes also regulations concerning telephone conversations of the detained with an attorney. Accessible information conveyed by police officers is of basic importance when a person is detained. The Commissioner addressed the attention of the Minister of Justice and the Plenipotentiary of the Chief Commander of Police on the Protection of Human Rights towards this issue.

The Commissioner’s visit to Lublin

“A role of the Commissioner for Human Rights in a democratic state of law” was a title of the lecture that Adam Bodnar delivered at the Faculty of Political Science of the Maria Curie-Sklodowska-University in Lublin. During the visit to the Lubelskie province, the Commissioner also met with police officers, with whom he talked about the necessity to prevent tortures and inhumane or degrading treatment of people deprived of freedom.

The Deputy Commissioner and employees of the Panel of Executing Punishments in the Detention Centre in Lodz

On 9th May, two employees of the Panel of Executing Punishments and the Deputy Commissioner, Krzysztof Olkowicz, examined complaints in the Detention Centre in Lodz, which were received at the Office of the Commissioner from this penitentiary institution [more].

“A status of  a mentally ill person in Polish law” - a conference at the Jagiellonian University

A Nationwide Academic Conference entitled “A status of a mentally ill person in Polish law” was held at the Jagiellonian University on 7th May. The conference, which was organised by the Academic Circle of the Medical Law of the Jagiellonian University, gathered an extraordinary panel: psychiatrists, lawyers - practising and academic lecturers, law students, ombudsmen for patients’ rights in psychiatric hospitals. Patients from one of Cracow’s psychiatric hospital were also present in the room and were accompanied by their guardian [more].

People deprived of freedom who have hepatitis C

The Commissioner again addressed the Director-General of the Prison Service about the situation of people deprived of freedom with hepatitis C. In the Commissioner’s view, the information received until today about the treatment of this group of imprisoned people is not sufficient [more].

Next appeal of the Commissioner concerning directing to a psychiatric facility

The Commissioner lodged an appeal in the case of Mr. Stanislaw, who was released from a psychiatric facility after 8 years. To justify the decision about discharge, the court mentioned a positive assessment of the patient’s mental condition and that the act he was accused of is no longer a crime, but an offence (theft of 7 packages of coffee). Despite the discharge of Mr. Stanislaw from a psychiatric hospital, the district court’s decision to place him there is still in force. The Commissioner applied for a revocation of the decision and a cancellation of proceedings [more].

The rights of dangerous people deprived of freedom

On 29th April, an employee of the Office of the Commissioner participated in Olsztyn Penitentiary Conference entitled “Contemporary penitentiary systems”, which was organised by the Department of International Public Law of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn and the Academic Club of International Penitentiary Policy. The Conference was devoted to i.a. the problems of the intellectually disabled in penitentiary institutions and dangerous people deprived of freedom. Ewelina Brzostymowska from the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights delivered a lecture entitled “The Commissioner’s activity concerning dangerous people deprived of freedom”.