Newsletter 11 – 17 April 2016
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Newsletter 11 – 17 April 2016
The Commissioner's awards for the creators of "Lekarze Nadziei" health care centre for the homeless
On 11 April, Dr Maria Sielicka-Gracka and dr Monika Madalińska, who work as volunteers in the Health Care Centre for the Homeless at Wolska 172 Street in Warsaw were awarded the badge of honour of the Commissioner for Human Rights. The ceremony took place at the Wola Theatre during a charity music concert "We are Hope(ful)" [more].
CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES, JUSTICE SYSTEM
Reimbursement of the costs of appointing the defence councel in the event of discontinuance of proceedings
Mr. Jan was accused of endangering road safety. Due to the statute of limitations, the court of second instance annulled the judgement of the District Court, which imposed a fine on the defendant, and discontinued the proceedings. The Regional Court charged the Treasury for the criminal proceedings. Despite the fact that the defendant was represented by defence counsel of choice, the Regional Court did not order the Treasury to reimburse the costs of these expenses. In the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights – wrongly [more].
The US State Department on human rights in Poland
On 13 April, the US State Department published its annual report devoted to the observance of human rights in 199 countries throughout the world. In the case of Poland, the analysts point out problems that are the subject of constant attention by the Commissioner of Human Rights (his activities are described in the report as independent and, according to NGOs – efficient) [more].
Man goes on hunger strike and calls for the publication of the judgement of the CT
On Monday, April 11, the representative of the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar came to visit Andrzej Miszk, who has been on hunger strike in front of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister for the past 26 days. Mr. Miszk calls for the publication of the judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9 March, in accordance with which the amendment of the Constitutional Tribunal Act adopted by the Parliament and signed by the President is unconstitutional [more].
CCTV in residential care homes
Installing CCTV cameras (monitoring) in residential care homes – without a legal basis set out in statutes – can violate the provisions of the Constitutions, as well as the provisions of international legal acts, which guarantee the right to privacy. The Commissioner has referred to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy to regulate this issue as soon as possible. [more].
Conference on misdemeanours law
The analysis of the applicable misdemeanours law and an indication of the desired direction of change were the main themes of a conference held at the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. The most important issues included the lack of the prerequisite of minor social harm, the prohibition against punishing the same offence twice, and the repressiveness of the law on misdemeanours, among others. [more].
The use of electronic supervision system against people convicted of non-alimony
Approximately 190,000 people evades to pay child support, and the total amount of alimony debt equals 6.8 billion PLN. In a joint statement, the Commissioner for Human rights and the Ombudsman for Children have referred to the Minister of Justice with the idea of a broader use of the electronic surveillance system against people convicted of non-alimony [more].
Entrepreneurs providing payment services
In March, the Ombudsman drew attention to the need to reduce financial burdens imposed on payment services' bureaus, in particular fees to cover the costs of the Financial Supervision Authority's supervision. Now the Ministry of Finance presented its position in this case [more].
On social clauses in public procurement
In the Commissioner's assessment, there is a lack of mechanisms that allow to effectively exclude a company which exploits its workers from the proceedings for the award of a contract. In her response to the Commissioner's motion, the President of the Public Procurement Office reminded of the applicable regulations and announced planned changes [more].
On the unclear definition of the term "structure"
The Commissioner once again referred to the Ministry of Finance on the establishment of a clear definition of a "structure" for tax purposes. The Ministry informed that legislative work is underway in this regard [more].
Adam Bodnar's meeting in the Łódź Voivodeship
The rights of the elderly and people with disabilities, the problems of gardeners and housing matters – here are some of the issues that emerged in the course of the Commissioner's discussion with the representatives of non-governmental organisations in the Łódź Voivodeship. Meetings with Adam Bodnar were held in Skierniewice, Piotrków Trybunalski and Łódź [more].
Women's Congresses – in Koszalin and Silesia
"Feminine Koszalin" – this was the title of the IV Regional Women's Congress in Koszalin held on 16 April, which was attended by the Commissioner for Human Rights. In his speech, dr Adam Bodnar drew attention to the problem of discrimination based on sex. The Commissioner prepared a film message for the Silesian Women's Congress [more].
Crimes motivated by prejudice – seminar on OSCE recommendations
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has issued recommendations concerning the Polish Criminal Code, which indicated the need to introduce stricter penalties for crimes motivated by prejudice and to increase the protection of victims of crimes committed on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The OSCE's position was the main theme of the seminar organised in the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights by the Coalition Against Crimes Motivated by Prejudice [more].
On the relocation of foreigners
The Government of the Republic of Poland is aware of the existing commitments made at the forum of the European Union in the field of relocating refugees from Greece and Italy to Poland. The relocation itself is conditioned on the effective completion of procedures checking the foreigners in terms of safety [more].
Standardization of services for the homeless
The planned standardization of services performed for homeless people raises concerns of social organisations. The new requirements may lead to the restriction of their activities. Adaptation of existing facilities to new standards may result in having to undertake costly and time-consuming activities. The Experts Commission on the Prevention of Homelessness attached to the Commissioner for Human Rights called to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy for immediate public consultations in this regard [more].
THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY
Changes in the functioning of the electronic surveillance system from April 15
The electronic surveillance system allows for a permanent, but discrete control of the behaviour of a convict: the court imposes responsibilities and, for example, a person under surveillance must stay at home or be present at another place of detention at certain times, according to schedule. Changes coming into force on 15 April will once more allow to use the ESS in the case of custodial sentences, and not only community sentences [more].
On persons with intellectual disabilities in prisons
The lack of adequate training of the prison staff to work with people suffering from intellectual disabilities is a problem that has been pointed out by the Commissioner for Human Rights many times. In his response to the last motion concerning this matter, the Deputy Director General of Prison Service announced, among others, a training programme for prison staff [more].
On psychiatric care for the imprisoned
Prison health care is not able to provide immediate treatment to a person in absolute need of psychiatric hospitalization. Meanwhile, the Ordinance of the Minister of Justice of 23 June 2015 requires to also imprison people in life-threatening conditions. It follows from the response of the Deputy Director General of the Prison Service to the Commissioner's motion in this regard that the opinion provided by the Prison Service was not taken into account in the course of legislative work [more].
On sanitary conditions in prisons
In order to ensure the prisoners' right to intimacy, the Prison Service has outfitted 918 sanitary facilities – such information was provided to the Commissioner by the Deputy Director General of the Prison Service. The construction of all facilities will take 4-5 years [more].
On social resettlement of convicts
In his general motion to Minister Zbigniew Ziobro in February, the Commissioner for Human Rights drew attention to the situation of convicts who have trouble adapting after leaving the prison walls. That is why help offered to them is so important: it can significantly help to prevent further encounters with the justice system, thereby increasing the sense of security of all citizens. In his response, the Minister of Justice has agreed that help in the social resettlement of former convicts is very important. He stressed, however, that it is not the task of the Minister of Justice. [more].
Conditions for granting environmental payments
Some farmers have not filed an application for environmental payments in 2014, because they were convinced that they do not meet the requirement to produce a pre-determined quantity of ecological products. In the same calendar year, the Ministry found that this requirement does not include the specifics of functioning of small farms, and amended the Ordinance. Despite the abolition of the additional requirement, farmers could no longer apply for environmental payments. The Commissioner has referred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in this matter [more].
OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner at the celebration of the 1050th anniversary of Poland's baptism
The Commissioner for Human Rights, dr Adam Bodnar, participated in the celebration of the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland and the beginning of the Polish State. Together with the representatives of supreme state institutions, the government and the diplomatic corps, he participated in the National Assembly, which took place in Poznań. This was the first ever meeting of the Sejm and the Senate, which was organised outside Warsaw [more].
The 20th anniversary conference of the Parliamentary Special Services Oversight Committee
The Commissioner for Human Rights, dr Adam Bodnar, took part in the international conference on democratic oversight of special services. The conference was organised in Oslo as part of the 20th anniversary of the Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee [more].
Information on the Commissioner's media appearances – the Commissioner in the media