Commissioner for Human Rights

Newsletter 18 - 24 April 2016

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Newsletter 18 – 24 April 2016


Speech by Adam Bodnar during the General Assembly of the Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal

- Commissioner for Human Rights does not have to convince anyone that the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal is of fundamental importance for the protection of individual’s rights and freedoms – in such words Adam Bodnar began his speech at the General Assembly of the Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal. Commissioner for Human Rights also reminded that the cases that are pending before the Tribunal concern millions of citizens  [more].



Commissioner refers the Act on the Prosecutor's Office to the Constitutional Tribunal

The Commissioner for Human Rights referred to the Constitutional Tribunal the Act on the Prosecutor's Office. This Act gave enormous powers to the politician. The Minister of Justice may directly affect the conduct of specific cases, decide to arrest or search. He is allowed to inform media and to disclose the secret  of investigation to those who do not perform any public functions  [more].

The application to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding statutes of limitation of Communist crimes

Some of communist crimes cannot be investigated by the judiciary, as the legislature does not provide even a minimum period allowing their analysis and investigations are redeemed because of the statute of limitations. Commissioner appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal in respect of this case  [more].

An appeal to the Tribunal on the rights of IPN workers

Employees and prosecutors working at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) cannot organize labor unions, although such a right is enjoyed by other prosecutors and officials. This prohibition stems from the Act on IPN. Commissioner for Human Rights addressed this case in the appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal  [more].

Constitutional Tribunal: The scope of immunities of parliamentarians is consistent with the Constitution

The Commissioner requested the Constitutional Tribunal to declare unconstitutionality of one of the provisions of the Act on Performance of the Mandate of Deputy or Senator . Commissioner’s doubts were raised by the provision, according to which the activities of MP protected by immunity cover "other activities linked inextricably with the mandate." The Court recognized the request of the Commissioner and decided that the contested provision complies with the Constitution  [more].

Meeting of the Commissioner with Andrzej Miszk

On April 23 Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar visited Mr Andrzej Miszk, who led the 38-day hunger strike in front of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, demanding the publication of the judgment of the Constitutional Court of March 9. A day later, after consulting doctors, Mr Miszk ended protest [more].

Refusal to provide public information by NASK to a young citizen

Mr Tymon turned to the Research and Academic Computer Network (NASK) for public information on the principles on which Agora company leased the Internet domain and NASK refuses because is of the opinion that public information can be made available only to citizen who turned 18 years of age. Commissioner joined the pending proceeding before the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw  [more].

The General Assembly of THEMIS Association of Judges

- Association of Judges THEMIS expresses again its strong support for the request to publish all judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal and calls for respect for the independence of this institution, as it stands on guard of civil rights and freedoms - this is part of the programme resolution adopted during the Saturday (24.04) General Assembly of the Association of Judges THEMIS in Łask, which was attended by Adam Bodnar [more].

The provisions concerning the issuing of an identity card for a child

The citizen when applying for issuing ID of the child learned that such a request was already filed by the second parent with limited parental authority and that the ID was given to him. There is therefore a serious fear of child abduction abroad with the issued document. It turns out that, in accordance with applicable regulations, municipal authority has no grounds to refuse to give the document to the parent who is deprived of parental authority or whose parental authority was limited. Commissioner referred the matter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration  [more].

Consultations regarding the route of power lines

The procedures governing the processes of preparation and implementation of strategic investments related to the construction of power lines are imprecise. In the complaints of citizens and local governments the allegation is repeated that the public consultation aimed at providing the local community with the early information about the planned investments are not carried out in a transparent and honest manner. Commissioner for Human Rights referred the matter to the Prime Minister  [more].

Victims of traffic accidents in the 90's.

In 1992 Mr Thomas, who was then 3.5 year-old, was hit by a car. As a result of injuries he become a disabled person, requiring constant care. The vehicle of the offender had no valid TPL insurance. The victim received a pension from the Insurance Guarantee Fund. Today, however, the amounts set out in the agreements concluded in the 90's ran out and Mr Thomas remained without protection and means necessary for further treatment and existence. Thousands of people injured at that time in traffic accidents face the similar problems. Commissioner for Human Rights appealed to the Marshal of the Senate for a systemic solution of the presented problem.  [more].

Insurance of probation officers

Social probation officers are not covered by insurance, although the scope of their duties is virtually identical to that of professional probation officers, performing their functions on the basis of employment relationship. Especially, it concerns the insurance on consequences of accidents  that happen while performing their tasks. Commissioner referred the matter to the Minister of Justice. [more].

Compensation for victimized persons

After the speech of the Commissioner, Senate paid attention to compensation for victims of repressions of the communist period, who previously could not take advantage of that entitlement. Draft amendments in this regard have been prepared, which include most of the demands made by the Commissioner. The Commissioner, however, has doubts about the statutes of limitation in this regard and requested the Chairperson of the Legislative Committee of the Senate in this respect. [more]

Discrepancies in the provisions of the construction law

It is not clear whether you can apply the provisions of the construction law to objects and constructions that do not require obtaining a building permit (e.g. bowers or shelters). According to the Commissioner, the correct and uniform understanding of the regulations in this area is necessary to ensure an appropriate level of protection, not only to investors, but also to people whose rights are affected by a given investment. The Commissioner therefore asked the Supreme Administrative Court to resolve this legal issue.  [more]

Are municipal guards trained in human rights?

Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration responded to the Commissioner’s speech concerning the functioning of local guards and municipal police. The Commissioner for Human Rights asked, among others, for information about the trainings for the municipal guards, especially as it comes to the obligation to respect human dignity and to respect and protect human rights. The problem was reported at the regional meeting of the Commissioner in Kielce [more].

The illegal trade in billings

In recent months, the information has appeared in the media about the illegal access to so-called billings and trade in them, in which  - in the opinion of journalists - could participate former and current police officers. In response to the speech of the Commissioner, Deputy Chief of Police informed of the measures which are intended to prevent such irregularities and assured of special supervision of the management of the Police in this matter  [more].

A person with Down syndrome before a military commission?

Commissioner for Human Rights asked the Mayor of Poznan for clarification of the information contained in the article "One with the Down syndrome must appear before the military commission”, which appeared on the pages of the Voice of Wielkopolska. In response, Secretary of the City of Poznan pointed out the circumstances that contributed to the repeated summons to appear before the County Commission of Physicians of the person with determined disability [more].

The possibility of lodging a complaint against the city guard

To the Office of the Commissioner complaints have been filed in which it was pointed out that it is difficult to determine which authority is entitled to examine complaints against the city guard. It was a situation when citizens filed a notice of the offence, but the city guard decided not to request for the punishment. This issue and related questions of interpretation the Commissioner presented to the Minister of Justice. The response from the Ministry has been just received.  [more].



About countering the pay gap between men and women

The Commissioner asked the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy on the steps taken by the Ministry to tackle the phenomenon of so-called wage gap. The response has been just received [more].

Ratification of the Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights

Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, Sylwia Spurek PhD has asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the ratification by Poland of the Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The ratification would allow any person who has experienced discrimination to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In response, the Minister announced, inter alia, that the Ministry is continuing the consultations, started last year, on the merits and the possibility of ratification of the Protocol by Poland [more].

Age criterion in the public procurement notice

In the tender procedure, security companies that employ younger workers may be awarded. However, that does not mean that the winner of the tender is to dismiss the elderly - such conclusions are based on responses of Chairman of the Public Procurement Office to the speech of the Commissioner. The Commissioner addressed the issue in the name of the security personnel who have lost their jobs because their company has concluded that the conditions of winning the tender no longer allow it  to employ experienced, older workers [more].

"Equal and safe school - how to support it effectively?" - conference at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

- Anti-discrimination education in schools is not properly implemented, and sometimes there is complete lack of it - said the deputy Commissioner, Sylwia Spurek PhD during the conference, which was held in the Office of the Commissioner. Meeting under the theme "Equal and safe school - how to effectively support it?" was organized in collaboration with the Society of Anti-discrimination Education [more].

“EESC’s report on the situation of refugees "

- The growing influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa has not affected the situation in Poland – this is the beginning of  "The report of the mission to Poland" of the European Economic and Social Committee, created under the " Information missions of  EESC - the situation of refugees from the point of view of civil society organizations " [more].

"Refugee crisis. The crisis of values? "- Conference in Wroclaw with the participation of the Commissioner for Human Rights

Can Europe survive the rapid influx of refugees, and at the same time remain united, tolerant and open? Can we protect our values? Can we show solidarity with people who need help? The participants of the debate in Wroclaw, which was attended by the Commissioner Adam Bodnar, tried to answer these and many other questions. The event held under the slogan "Refugee crisis. The crisis of values? "was organized by the Regional Representation of the European Commission in Wroclaw, Wroclaw University, and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights [more].



Commissioner’s visit to Szczecin - Point of admissions was opened on April 25

From April 25 Point of admissions of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Szczecin is opened . Point is placed in the city office and works every last Monday of the month from 16:00 to 20:00 and on the following Tuesday between 9:00 and 14:00 [more].

Meeting of Adam Bodnar in Radom

The Commissioner of Human Rights Adam Bodnar met with representatives of non-governmental organizations in Radom. The talks concerned, among others, problems of patients and their carers, the issue of domestic violence and the problem of inheritance of debts by children abandoned by their parents [more].

Young people from Nicolaus Copernicus I General Secondary School in Radom show their city to Adam Bodnar

Secondary school students - participants of School of Dialogue programme, took the Commissioner, Adam Bodnar, for a trip in the footsteps of the Jewish community of their city. Playing the role of guides students showed the Commissioner the traces of the Jewish community, a place where once a synagogue stood, as well as the Monument to Jewish Residents of Radom. It was a great opportunity for the students to show the results of their work and commitment to School of Dialogue programme. During the walk the students were accompanied by the teachers, Ewa Kutyła and Agnieszka Brzeska-Pająk, participating in the Leaders Dialogue programme  [more].



The treatment of pain and access to medical marijuana

The duty of the state is to ensure patient access to safe and effective treatment of pain. However, the pain is still being treated as an integral part of the disease and treatment process. The Commissioner referred the matter to the Minister of Health, pointing to the unresolved problem of the Polish patients’ access to medical marijuana [more].

The obligation to pay contributions to the medical self-government

The declaration of cessation of the practice of medicine in Poland (eg. due to the exercise of the profession abroad and belonging to the local chamber of physicians or work unrelated to the performance of the medical profession) does not result in removal from the list of members of the regional chamber and does not relieve from the obligation to pay the membership’s contribution. The Commissioner referred in this case to the Minister of Health [more].



Control of the decision on extradition to the US

The Minister of Justice is issuing the final decision on the extradition of a Polish citizen to the United States. The legal nature of the decision is not clear, and it is unclear whether it can be controlled. The Commissioner referred the matter to the Minister of Justice [more].

Expert’s opinion: prison is not the place for patients in life-threatening condition

  "The only appropriate place for a mentally ill person, with acute psychosis, is a medical institution, not a prison. Only a psychiatric hospital can provide a sick person with due and necessary care without putting their at risk of losing their life or health "- wrote prof. Janusz Heitzman, vice president of Polish Psychiatric Association, in response to the Commissioner’s speech[more].

Another issue concerning the regime for dangerous prisoners

Poland lost another case concerning the regime for dangerous prisoners. April 19, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in Karwowski against Poland stated that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, awarding to the applicant 11 thousand. euro[more].

Doctors will help in the work of the National Preventive Mechanism

Supreme Medical Council authorized on April 22 President Maciej Hamankiewicz to sign the agreement with the Commissioner about the participation of doctors from the regional medical chambers in visits of the National Preventive Mechanism, as well as in the study of issues that are initiated on the basis of the application of a citizen or ex officio [more].



UN special rapporteur on the right to food with a visit to the Office of the Commissioner

In the Office of the Commissioner, a meeting of Deputy Commissioner Stanislaw Trociuk with Hilal Elver - a special rapporteur of the United Nations on the right to food took place. The aim of the visit of Hilal Elver in Poland is to collect information on the state of the right to food. Her findings and recommendations will be included in the final report, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017. [more].

Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights in the commemoration of Raoul Wallenberg

Deputy Commissioner Sylvia Spurek PhD took part in the ceremonial unveiling of a commemorative plaque dedicated to Raoul Wallenbergowi - Swedish diplomat, who at the end of World War II saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps. The ceremony coincided with the celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising [more].

Lecture of Commissioner for Human Rights in a series of meetings entitled "What is happening in our country?"

- Lack of a effectively functioning Constitutional Tribunal can only deepen the legal chaos – commented on the importance of the constitutional court in a democratic system Adam Bodnar during a lecture in a series of meetings entitled "What is happening in our country?", which are organized at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences [more].

Workshops for young people in the Office of the Commissioner

Human and civil rights and powers of the Commissioner were the subject of workshops for young people from 44 General Secondary School in Warsaw, which took place in the Office of the Commissioner. During the meeting, the youth worked in groups, searching for their own opinions and comments to the issues discussed. The event was organized by the Centre for Social Projects in the Office of the Commissioner [more].

"Give to another a part of yourself. Transplantation and blood donation "- a conference under the auspices of the Commissioner for Human Rights

- If we look at the subject of transplantation and blood donation broadly, it is obvious to me that they are part of deliberations on human rights. They are associated with the search for an appropriate balance between the protection of life, health protection and respect for privacy.  These are words in which the Commissioner for Human Rights - Adam Bodnar started scientific conference "Give to another a part of yourself. Transplantation and blood donation "in Kasprzak Complex of Schools No. 36. in Warsaw [more].