Commissioner for Human Rights

Professor Wiktor Osiatyński received the Paweł Włodkowic prize awarded by the CHR


Today, fewer people justify their claims for a better life on the grounds of human rights. More people justify such claims in the categories which are based on emotions, anger, the feeling of insult or resentment. And those claims which indeed are based on human rights are now difficult to hear. Maybe, this is due to the fact that in most parts of the world, the main trend has changed, said the winner of the prize.  That is why we need to invent new things, to look for new movements, maybe for some social movements. [Anyway], in the past, before human rights got regulated by legislation, it was simply a people’s movement. I think that today we live in the times when such new movements are needed, and there should be people ready to co-develop them - said professor Wiktor Osiatynski during the award ceremony.

Each year, on 10 December we recall the anniversary of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 in Paris. This is a unique opportunity for meetings and discussions about the status of the observance of human rights. This year the Paweł Włodkowic Award was presented by the Commissioner for Human Rights to professor Wiktor Osiatyński. The award is of honorary nature and is presented annually as an expression of the Commissioner’s recognition of defending fundamental values and truths, even against the opinion and views of the majority. The award ceremony was also an opportunity to present awards to the laureats of the CHR's competition for students of lower-level and upper-level secondary schools the best for multimedia interpretation of the Constitution.


Patron of the Paweł Włodkowic Award

Paweł Włodkowic (born ca. 1370, died in 1435) – scholar, religious and political writer, defender of Polish interests in disputes with the Teutonic Knights. He was Chancellor of the Cracow Academy in the years 1414-1415, then its vice-Chancellor and then he settled down in Kłodawa as a parish-priest. He participated in the Council of Constance (1414-1418), where he presented “Tractatus de potestate papae et imperatoris respect infidelium” (Treatise on the Power of the Pope and the Emperor Respecting Infidels). In it, he opposed to Christianisation by means of wars and violence and supported the right of pagans to retain their own political identity. He represented Poland against the Teutonic Knights in the arbitration court of Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1420 in Wrocław and in the papal court in 1421 in Rome.

Laureates of the Paweł Włodkowic Award:

  • 2006 - Więź monthly – on behalf of the Editorial Staff, the Award was received by Mr Zbigniew Nosowski, Editor-in-Chief.
  • 2007 - Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski
  • 2008 - Antonin Scalia – on behalf of Judge Scalia, the Award was received by the Ambassador of the United States in Poland, Mr Victor Ashe
  • 2009 - Anna Walentynowicz
  • 2010 – Lidia Olejnik, Director of Prison in Lubliniec
  • 2011 – Irena Dawid-Olczyk, Founder and Member of the Management Board of the “La Strada” Foundation against Trafficking and Slavery
  • 2012 – Krystyna Mrugalska, Vice President of the Polish Association for the Intellectually Disabled Persons
  • 2013 - Bartłomiej Skrzyński, Wrocław Spokesperson for People with Disabilities
  • 2014 - Aleksander Bialacki, Belarussian oppositionist and the Director of "Wiosna" Centre of Defence of Human Rights
  • 2015- prof. Thomas Buergenthal