Commissioner for Human Rights

Newsletter 29 March - 3 April 2016

Tagi: Newsletter

Newsletter 29th March–3rd April 2016


Seamen's families' problems

The legal situation of families of seamen who died during their work at sea needs to be changed. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation and requested him to take relevant measures. The problem was presented to the Commissioner during the regional visit to Szczecin and Świnoujście, at a meeting with the representatives of the Last Cruise Foundation, which helps seamen and their families [more].

Preventing environmental pollution

The issue of environmental pollution is increasingly often raised in the complaints to the Commissioner for Human Rights and during the Commissioner's meetings with residents of various parts of Poland. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of the Environment and indicated that the state should both introduce regulations that would allow local governments to limit pollution sources and support local governments in their performance of tasks with the aim of providing local residents with proper air quality [more].

Issue of a lady whose husband wanted her to be placed in a psychiatric hospital

A husband wanted to place his wife, with whom he is in dispute, in a psychiatric hospital under a procedure without her consent. The Blue Card procedure had already been instigated, so she had been recognised as a victim of domestic violence. The information on the case was submitted to Adam Bodnar during a regional meeting in Rzeszów on 10th March. After analysing the documents, the Commissioner joined the court proceedings. On Friday, the husband withdrew his motion at the court session [more].


Parents on the labour market

Women are the ones who bear the primary burden of care for children and unpaid work at home, while fathers only occasionally take part in household chores. These are conclusions from a study commissioned by the Commissioner and numerous Polish and EU statistics. Such a situation leads to unequal treatment of women with regard to employment. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy in this regard [more, including the link to the report titled ‘Compromise between Family and Job Roles. Equal Treatment of Parents on the Labour Market’].

Benefits for caretakers of persons with disabilities

In his address to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, the Commissioner once again raises the issue of restrictions that prevent people who take care of their disabled family member from obtaining attendance benefits (attendance benefit and special attendance allowance). In the Commissioner's opinion, this situation requires legislative measures. Caretakers of the disabled may not be excluded from the support system [more].

Discrimination against non-heterosexual patients

Results of social research commissioned by the Commissioner presented in the report entitled ‘Equal Treatment of Patients — Non-heterosexual Persons in the Health Care Systems. Analysis and Recommendations’ confirmed the information on discrimination with regard to health care due to sexual orientation that had been conveyed to the Commissioner. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Health, the Commissioner for Patients' Rights, the President of the Supreme Medical Council and the President of the Supreme Council of Nurses and Midwives in this regard [more].

Seminar on discrimination against women in Poland

Implementations of recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was the primary topic of the seminar that took place at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. The meeting was organised by the KARAT Coalition and the Coalition for CEDAW in cooperation with the Office of the Commissioner [more].

Prosecutor's office on the anti-immigration demonstration in Wrocław

The Prosecutor's Office charged the person who burned a doll representing a Jew during an anti-immigration protest in November last year with incitement to racial, ethnic and religious hatred. The Prosecutor's Office does not exclude charging other participants in the November demonstration with this crime. The Commissioner monitors the case [more].


Second meeting of the Expert Group on Maintenance

It is necessary to educate the police, prosecutors, and judges of family and criminal courts. It is also necessary to conduct social research to find the reasons people fail to pay maintenance. We also need to take advantage of good practices and experience of other countries. These are some conclusions from the second meeting of the Expert Group on Child Maintenance – a joint initiative by the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Commissioner for Children's Rights [more].


Electronically sent prescriptions

The Commissioner addressed the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data and requested to present her position on the new legal solutions concerning sending prescriptions by e-mail. In the Commissioner's opinion, the regulations adopted in October 2015 do not provide appropriate personal data protection. [more].


Second edition of the Golden Book of Good Practices

The Commissioner for Human Rights and the Expert Commission for Elderly People jointly invite grass roots organisations, informal groups, employers, local governments, and other institutions that implement programmes for the benefit of the elderly to take part in the second edition of the contest entitled Golden Book of Good Practices for Social Participation of the Elderly Persons [more].

Health care for the elderly

The system of health care and assistance for the elderly people is still ineffective. It is necessary to reform it in order to ensure adjustment to the demographic change. The ageing citizens without actual access to proper care and assistance are at risk of losing their autonomy and dignity. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Health and requested information on the Ministry's current and planned measures in this regard [more].


Motion to the Constitutional Tribunal on security of mass events – the Commissioner's position after the amendment to the act

The institution of club ban in the current legal form does not comply with the Constitution, e.g. due to the fact that a mass event organiser has too much liberty in its application. Therefore, the Commissioner submitted a motion in this regard to the Constitutional Tribunal in December 2014. Due to the amendment to an article of the Act on security of mass events, the Tribunal addressed the Commissioner and requested an explanation whether this amendment affects the motion [more].

National election observers

The Commissioner addressed the chair of the Sejm Standing Subcommittee for Amending Election Code and Code of Administrative Procedure and requested regulation concerning independent national election observers. On 16th March this year, the Chair of the State Election Commission responded to the Commissioner's address by agreeing with the demand to implement the provisions of the election law in this institution and declared that he would participate in the parliamentary work if a proposal of a relevant act was submitted [more].

500 plus programme and personal data protection

The Commissioner is satisfied to see that the state adopts legal and financial solutions that provide families with assistance. Some solutions adopted in the Act on the state assistance in the upbringing of children that introduces the Family 500+ programme lead to certain doubts with regard to protection of privacy and personal data. The Commissioner addressed the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data and requested her to present her position in this regard [more].

On the publication of the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9th March

The President of the Government Legislation Centre has not issued a decision on the refusal of the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9th March on the amendment to the Act on the Constitutional Tribunal of 22nd December 2015. The principles and procedures governing the publication of the decisions of the Constitutional Tribunal are indicated in the constitution and the Act on the publication of normative acts. Pursuant to this Act, the body responsible for this is the Prime Minister, as the Prime Minister publishes the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland – this is the response to the Commissioner's address to the Presidents of the Government Legislation Centre that included an enquiry about the legal grounds for refusal of the publication [more].

Payer credibility information exchange system

The are no sufficient procedures that would allow debtors to demand the removal of an entry published by the Economic Information Bureau (BIG) if the creditor fails to comply with their obligation to remove or update the data. A debtor should have the opportunity to claim their right, e.g. if a debt collecting agency active under the so-called online debt markets published information on disputed or time-barred liabilities. These are some of the issues raised by the Commissioner in his address to the Ministry of Development [more].

Lack of regulations concerning genetic research

Issues related to genetic tests and biobanking require regulating without undue delay, wrote the Commissioner in his address to the Minister of Health. Such modern medical procedures that make accurate diagnostics and selection of relevant treatment possible may result in the threat to the constitutional rights and liberties of an individual, e.g. the right to life, health, self-determination, and privacy [more].

Employing foreign physicians from outside the EU

In Poland, there are not enough specialist physicians, which results in obstacles to patients' access to treatment. The situation could be improved by employing foreign specialists, but in their opinion there are no programmes for employing foreign physicians in Poland that would encourage foreign specialist to practice their profession in our country. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Health and requested him to express his position in this regard [more].

Illegal abortion

The Commissioner addressed the Mayor of Warsaw and the Commissioner for Patients' Rights and requested information on the measures taken with regard to the suspected abortion against the provisions of the Act on family planning, protection of human foetus and conditions of legality of abortion. According to the information in the media, a child was born alive an no one provided it with care, which resulted in the newborn's death [more].'


Rights of persons awaiting social housing

Communes increasingly often claim money paid to home owners as damages for the fact that the eviction decision could not be enforced from the evicted persons. In his address to the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction, the Commissioner for Human Rights proposes amendments to the regulations that would solve the current situation, and protect the poor and the home owners [more].


Reimbursement of the cost of witness's appearance before the court

The current regulation in the Code of Criminal Procedure often fails to ensure adequate compensation of material loss related to the participation in the proceedings due to the definition of the maximum amount payable for the lost profits. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice in this regard [more].

Personal data protection in proceedings material

In his address to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner demands increased scope of personal data protection in the preparatory proceedings files. The Commissioner paid attention to the issue due to the fact that the materials from the investigation of the so-called wiretapping affair concerning recording of conversation of several tens of politicians, businessmen and former and current public officials since July 2013 were available on the Internet [more].

Manner of provision of court documents in criminal procedures

An attorney authorised to receive letters, parcels and postal orders on behalf of a person with disability was refused the right to take a letter sent by a court with regard to a criminal procedure. The possibility to deliver court letters relevant to the accused through an intermediary or via fax or electronic mail has been excluded since 1st July 2015.  The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice and indicated that the regulations should take account of the situation of persons with disabilities, chronically ill, or persons who are unable to receive letters in person due to other reasons [more].


Grounds for detention at the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissocial Behaviour

The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights examined the legal situation of a person whose case was the subject of proceedings under the Act on procedures concerning persons with mental disorders who pose a threat to life, health or sexual freedom of others. According to the findings, the solutions adopted in the said Act result in the detention of this person at the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissocial Behaviour. The Commissioner addressed the Minister of Justice in this regard [more].

On insane persons in custody

An insane person whom the court ordered to be placed in a psychiatric hospital should be transferred to a relevant facility as soon after the decision as possible. Such person should not remain in a custody suite, which is not an appropriate facility for a mentally ill person who requires treatment. Therefore, the Commissioner demanded relevant amendments to the Criminal Code. The Minister of Justice did not agree with the Commissioner's view [more].

Crime of torture in the Criminal Code

In his address to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner demands regulations concerning the crime of torture in the Criminal Code. The current regulations are not adequate to the international obligations undertaken by Poland [more].


Cooperation with the President’s Emergency Legal Assistance Bureau

The commencement of the cooperation between the Emergency Legal Assistance Bureau and Polish commissioners was the topic of the talks that took place on 31st March in the Presidential Palace and involved: the Minister of the Chancellery of the President, Andrzej Dera, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, the Commissioner for Patients' Right, Krystyna Kozłowska, the Commissioner for Children's Rights, Marek Michalak, and the Financial Ombudsman, Aleksandra Wiktorow [more].