Poland is a republic with a multiparty democracy. On July 9 2019 twenty-two countries at the United Nations’ top human rights body issued a joint statement urging China to end its mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Poland Further Erodes Women’s Rights, Defies EU Principles. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . This article is more than 8 years old. On 24 October, a district court in Warsaw quashed all charges against them, stating that they had the right to protest peacefully and express their views against fascism. In October, the EC concluded that the government’s response to its concerns that the new disciplinary regime undermines the independence of judges, was unsatisfactory. On 20 December, the prosecutor for the second time decided to close the investigation into the women’s complaint. Humanists International has followed Poland’s turn toward authoritarian illiberalism and the concurrent rise of religious conservatism with increasing concern. Bodnar has been a defender of individual rights in Poland during his five years in office. Although Poland is one of the 127 UN member states who voted for the adoption of the resolution on the protection of the HRDs during the 70th UN General Assembly, the state’s constitutional guarantees for respect of international human rights law, as well as the conditions for work of HRDs have been significantly threatened with the introduction of several restrictive legislative changes since Autumn … During his re-election campaign, Polish president Andrzej Duda, an ally of the PiS, LGBTI rights an “ideology” more destructive than communism and, to “defend children” by banning “the propagation of LGBTI ideology” in schools. Learn more about the Committee's work. PiS has long made the ‘defence of Christian principles’ a key aspect of its public policy. In the face of increasingly homophobic rhetoric from leading politicians, the Polish LGBTI movement has only grown in strength, with Pride marches attracting more supporters and taking place in an increasing number of towns. Here’s how you can participate in the humanist movement, Since its election in 2015, Poland’s governing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party, now in its second term, has endeavoured to systematically undermine democracy and human rights. en es fr. Human rights violations in EU countries double in five years. In 2016, the ECHR received 8 300 new applications from Turkey, nearly four times as many as in 2015. “We have problems with prison conditions, and I don’t mean just typical prisons and jails,” Bodnar continued. Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation is amongst the 13 Polish atheist, humanist and secular civil society organizations who signed a letter ahead of the debate which took place in the European Parliament on 14 September on the situation in Poland. The European Union finally struck a bargain this week to keep Poland and Hungary from blocking a landmark $2.2 trillion budget that included pandemic-era economic aid over the pact’s rule of law requirements. International organisations. Dr Jarosław Szymczyk, to launch an internal investigation in regards to the procedural abuses and reported Human Rights violations at Warsaw police stations on 7 and 8 August and take appropriate action against the responsible police officers without delay. Kaja Bryx, Vice-President of the European Humanist Federation and President of Polish Rationalist Association, issued the following statement in response to recent events: “When you hear about human rights violations in Poland, barely three decades after the Solidarity movement won freedom and democracy for us, you ask yourself what exactly went wrong here. Other continents. Our flagship publication, recording discrimination against the non-religious globally, Learn more about the work of Humanists International, How we’re working to change the world for the better, Want to help? The human rights defender presents an annual report to the Sejm on the state of human rights and civic freedom in the country. In 2019, Humanists International used its attendance at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw – Europe’s largest human rights conference – to highlight threats to gender equality and the rights of women in Poland. In February the European Court of Human Rights found that Poland had violated the right to freedom of expression. 17/02/2020. Eastern Partnership. The government continued to implement legal and policy changes that undermined the independence of the judiciary. which took place in the European Parliament on 14 September on the situation in Poland. The bill has for the moment been shelved, but the danger of it resurfacing is ever-present. Your choice regarding cookies on this site Humanists International express its concerns for the human rights situation in Poland and stands with all victims of discrimination in the country. In July, amid widespread anti-LGBTI rhetoric from politicians and the media, the first LGBTI pride march took place in the town of Białystok. Dozens of LGBTI activists have been arrested on the basis of an overly broad, after a campaign involving the placement of rainbow flags on prominent public monuments, in violation of their rights of freedom of expression. As such, action to protect and promote human rights has inherent preventive power while rights-based approaches to peace and security bring this power to efforts for sustainable peace. Up to 64 local councils across Poland adopted resolutions declaring their … According to police estimates, around 1,000 participants were attacked by roughly 4,000 counter-protesters who threw fire crackers, cobblestones and eggs, shouted insults and physically assaulted some of the marchers. In August, media revealed links between the campaign that involved personal attacks on judges, and high-ranking officials at the Ministry of Justice. In April, the European Commission (EC) started an infringement procedure against Poland over the legislation on disciplinary proceedings against judges. The State has countered increasing grassroots activism with arrests and violence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights violations including censorship, discrimination, arbitrary detention and xenophobia were reported from different parts of the world. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. "We have problems with prison conditions, and I don't mean just typical prisons and jails," Bodnar continued. This map lists the number of human rights cases examined by the Committee in 2020. In the face of increasingly homophobic rhetoric from leading politicians, the Polish LGBTI movement has. The bill has for the moment been shelved, but the danger of it resurfacing is ever-present. The Human Rights Commissioner, Adam Bodnar, was targeted by officials and state media several times during the year. Baltic Sea. International Law. The newspaper Gazeta Polska was forced by the Regional Court in Warsaw to end its campaign of distributing “LGBT-free zone” stickers after one of the organizers of Lublin’s LGBTI pride march won his complaint on grounds that the stickers were an affront to human dignity. The 2015 ECtHR judgments in the cases of al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were not fully implemented. Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People. In the majority of cases, the courts upheld the rights of the protesters to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. In September, the CERD expressed concerns over reports that asylum-seekers have been denied entry to Poland or denied access to asylum procedures by border guards. The bicameral parliament consists of an upper house, the senate (Senat), and a lower house (Sejm). The Polish government has not limited itself to attacks on LGBTI rights, but has pursued policies to undermine women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and democracy in general, too. As Humanists International member, we call for international solidarity to stop repression and welcome the EU debate on activating art.7 procedure on rule of law, so that democratic&secular values are restored”. Poland is a party to several international agreements relevant to human rights, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Helsinki Accords, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In February, state TV took legal action against him demanding an apology after he stated that they had been engaged in possible hate speech against the Mayor of Gdańsk. Since its election in 2015, Poland’s governing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party, now in its second term, has endeavoured to … The PiS government also recently announced its intention to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women. Europe. On 5 December, the Supreme Court ruled that the new National Council of the Judiciary was appointed in a manner that does not guarantee its independence. announced withdrawal of Poland from the Istanbul Convention, official support for the „LGBT-free zones” or inscription “God, honor, Patria” on Polish passports. Throughout the year, leading public figures, including politicians and media officials, frequently made discriminatory statements targeting minorities, including LGBTI people and Jews. PiS has long made the ‘defence of Christian principles’ a key aspect of its public policy. The governing Law and Justice party, which has implemented the changes undermining the independence of the judiciary and whose members have been increasingly using rhetoric targeting minorities, won parliamentary elections in October, retaining its majority in the lower chamber (Sejm) but losing to the opposition in the Senate. In 2000 journalist Jacek Dlugolecki was convicted of insulting a … In addition to the erosion of fundamental human rights, democracy and the rule of law continues to deteriorate in the Polish state. The courts dropped charges against protesters who, among others, climbed through metal barriers that the police used to prevent them accessing the area around parliament in 2017. In August, 48 protestors were detained and others met with violence and homophobic slurs from the police during a peaceful protest in Warsaw. Concerns over push-backs of asylum-seekers at the border crossing with Belarus continued. This latest development is a clear example of how all EU values are interdependent. Delbos-Corfield says that Hungary, in particular, is guilty of attacks on academic and media freedom and the rights of NGOs operating in the country. Learn more about the rational, ethical worldview that is humanism, Discover a world of humanism: find your nearest group or national organization, Meet the staff, representatives and Board of Humanists International, Recognizing achievement in the worldwide humanist movement, You can reach Humanists International here, Young Humanists International is our youth section, for 18 to 35-year-olds. The criminal investigation into Poland's co-operation with the CIA and the hosting of a secret detention site was still pending. For over four years, and despite the Article 7 proceedings launched by the European Commission against Poland in 2017, the PiS party has stopped at nothing to undermine judicial independence and politicize its courts of law. In January, a man fatally stabbed the Mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, during an annual charity event. threats to gender equality and the rights of women in Poland. Following these revelations, the deputy Minister of Justice Łukasz Piebiak resigned in August. - Human Rights Violations in Poland 1983-1986, A Report by the Polish Helsinki Committee for the Helsinki Review Conference in Vienna 1986, (New York: The U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee). We also call upon the members of the Law and Justice party who fought for a free and democratic Poland over 30 years ago, to remember who they were and what they fought for, to honour this legacy and defend the same values again, before it’s too late.”. The newspaper Gazeta Polska was forced by the Regional Court in Warsaw to end its campaign of distributing “LGBT-free zone” stickers after one of the organizers of Lublin’s LGBTI pride march won his complaint on grounds that the stickers were an affront to human dignity. In these cases, judges argued a breach of their right to a fair hearing in the context of the reform of the judiciary. The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is the only international mechanism with the remit of protecting and defending MPs suffering human right violations. Public Diplomacy. However, these restrictions are rarely enforced. Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation is amongst the 13 Polish atheist, humanist and secular civil society organizations who signed. Earlier this month, Poland’s Catholic episcopate, the establishment of conversion clinics to help LGBTI people to “regain their natural sexual orientation.” Same-sex marriage is, With PiS exercising control over both the presidency and the government, the most effective opposition so far has come not from the government, but from grassroots activists. According to an “. According to an “Atlas of Hate” map created by local activists (shown below), over a third of the country has now effectively become an “LGBTI-free zone.” While the resolutions themselves are without legal effect, they nonetheless send a menacing symbolic message to the LGBTI community: “you are not welcome here”. In May, the court upheld his right to criticize the TV channel. In May, activist Elżbieta Podleśna was arrested and detained for several hours on suspicion of “offending religious beliefs” – a charge carrying up to two years’ imprisonment – after police claimed that they had found copies of posters depicting the Virgin Mary with her halo in the rainbow colours of the LGBTQ flag. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food - Mission to Poland (A/HRC/34/48/Add.1) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights - Mission to Poland (A/HRC/18/31/Add.2) The government plenipotentiary for civil society and equal treatment has a mandate to counter discrimination and promote equal opportunity for all. You can use this tool to change your cookie settings. Poland’s human rights problems don’t end with the court system. Human Rights. The women had challenged the prosecutor’s 2018 decision to drop the case. "We also do monitoring of conditions for youngsters in detention centers, which are pretty terrible, and … Earlier this month, Poland’s Catholic episcopate called for the establishment of conversion clinics to help LGBTI people to “regain their natural sexual orientation.” Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Poland. to impose a near-total ban on all legal abortions. The “Atlas of Hate”, an interactive map delineating Poland’s “LGBT-free zones” (atlasnienawisci.pl). state-led campaigns of intimidation, disciplinary proceedings and criminal charges. In a separate case on 19 November, the ECJ ruled that the new Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, whose members were elected by the new judicial council, must meet the requirement of independence and impartiality. Judges and prosecutors who spoke out in defence of an independent judiciary continued to face politicized disciplinary proceedings. Will Europe Sit Back? In addition to the erosion of fundamental human rights, democracy and the rule of law continues to deteriorate in the Polish state. Permissions It referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Two cases were communicated by the European Court of Human Rights to the Polish government for response. , with Pride marches attracting more supporters and taking place in an increasing number of towns. Open Letter European Union. During the lockdown the lower house of parliament discussed a bill (which came into being after a citizen petition) to impose a near-total ban on all legal abortions. Please share this page with your networks. Here’s some specific things you can do today, The official Humanists International blog, Meetings and events for Humanists International, Toolkits, documents, maps and lists on humanism and humanist activism, Support our work and the global humanist movement with a donation, Support our goals? The court held that authorities have the right to refuse granting access to information on which the decision is based, if state security is at stake. More than 100 municipalities in Poland have adopted resolutions rejecting “LGBTI propaganda” and declaring themselves to be “pro family”. If you are talented and passionate about human rights then Amnesty International wants to hear from you. Human Rights Watch | 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor | New York, NY 10118-3299 USA | t 1.212.290.4700 Human Rights Watch is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 13-2875808 With PiS exercising control over both the presidency and the government, the most effective opposition so far has come not from the government, but from grassroots activists. Humanist International has a strategic focus on a range of issues in our advocacy and campaigns work. On 20 December, the lower chamber of the Parliament adopted another amendment further undermining judicial independence. POLAND 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT . Restitution of works of art. An intensive smear campaign continued throughout the year against judges defending the rule of law by state media and on social media. ” map created by local activists (shown below), over a third of the country has now effectively become an “LGBTI-free zone.” While the resolutions themselves are without legal effect, they nonetheless send a menacing symbolic message to the LGBTI community: “you are not welcome here”. Poland's human rights problems don't end with the court system. It is apparent that breaches of the rule of law in Poland, materialised in the longstanding concerns regarding Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, could lead to further violations of other Article 2 TEU values: human rights, human dignity, equality and non-discrimination. The searchable archive of past and present policy – since 1952! In May, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed a complaint of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights against the use of classified information in cases of deportation, including of asylum-seekers. IBAHRI oral statement on Poland to …   |   It introduced among other things the penalty of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, contravening international human rights obligations. Nina Sankari, Vice President of Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation, said the following: “We condemn increasing violations of citizen’s rights in Poland, i.e. Poland already has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. In light of the Polish government’s continued demonization of the LGBTI community, and its recent attacks on sexual and reproductive rights, judicial independence and the rule of law, Humanists International shares two statements from our Polish Members, and a letter signed by a coalition of Polish atheist, humanist and secular civil society organizations, calling for the restoration of democratic and secular values, accountability for police abuses and an end to human rights violations in Poland. Dozens of LGBTI activists have been arrested on the basis of an overly broad blasphemy law after a campaign involving the placement of rainbow flags on prominent public monuments, in violation of their rights of freedom of expression. We defend human rights and promote rational, democratic international law, We support our Member Organizations to build the humanist movement, How we protect humanists at risk all around the world. Polish Justice Minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, who announced that the Polish Governement is planning on withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention. A recent court decision was made to ban nearly all abortions in Poland. Up to 64 local councils across Poland adopted resolutions declaring their opposition to “LGBT ideology” in “defence of families [or] the rights of Catholics”. In 2019, Humanists International used its attendance at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw – Europe’s largest human rights conference –. Amnesty International has responded that "Human rights violations hinder, rather than facilitate, responses to public health emergencies and undercut their efficiency." During the lockdown the lower house of parliament discussed a. ) The courts continued to uphold the rights of peaceful protesters, including those who engaged in civil disobedience. In a ruling that has sparked outrage across the country and indeed Europe, the Constitutional Court held that abortion due to foetal defects was ‘unconstitutional’. Polish aid. WordPress theme developer - whois: Andy White London. Human Rights Defender – Poland Contact details Postal address: Al. The PiS government also recently announced its intention to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women, claiming that it “makes a number of extreme leftist assumptions”. Judges who have spoken out against the threats to judicial independence, are frequently. We call upon the Chief of Police in Poland, gen. insp.   |   On 5 November, the ECJ ruled that the law, which lowered the retirement age of judges and set a different retirement age depending on gender, was in breach of EU law. 17/09/2020. The ECJ clarified that it is up to the Supreme Court to make an assessment whether this requirement has been met. The Human Rights Council voted 23-2 with 22 abstentions on the resolution that calls on the UN human rights chief to look into the situation of rights in Belarus and report back by year-end. Human rights violations are at the root causes of conflict and insecurity which, in turn, invariably result in further violations of human rights. In September, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called on the government to take measures to end extreme poverty among Roma, and to end forced evictions of Roma and housing demolitions. Since its election in 2015, Poland’s governing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party, now in its second term, has endeavoured to systematically undermine democracy and human rights. The president and the Council of Ministers headed by the prime minister share executive power. After widespread concerns voiced by experts in criminal law, the President referred the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal for review, which was pending at year’s end. Here are seven facts about human rights in Poland: Speech is free in Poland, but there are some limitations. Judges who have spoken out against the threats to judicial independence, are frequently threatened with state-led campaigns of intimidation, disciplinary proceedings and criminal charges. In June, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe noted a lack of tangible progress in the domestic investigation into the serious human rights violations, including torture and unacknowledged detention. The Law and Justice Party has erased the independence of the judiciary that has drawn international condemnation. The case raises concerns over the right to due process in cases of deportations where national security grounds are invoked. Just like in her 2018 decision, she argued that there was no “public interest” to justify public prosecution into the case. The case against Poland was brought by two men, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, a Saudi-born Palestinian known as Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Yet, the court is failing to reduce human rights violations in the Kurdish region. Subject: Human rights violations in Poland As of 22 October 2020, it will be virtually impossible for women in Poland to terminate a pregnancy. Poland’s government has set up a new Department of European Identity with the aim of protecting “human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Humanists International has followed Poland’s turn toward authoritarian illiberalism and the concurrent rise of religious conservatism with increasing concern. A person with a public platform can be fined and even jailed for promoting anti-government activity, amorality and disrespect for religion. - 1984 Violations of Human Rights in Poland , A report by the Polish Helsinki Committee, (New York: Committee in Support of Solidarity, 1985). HRC can also issue resolutions condemning human rights abuses and calling states for change. The statement focused on the widespread human rights violations against lawyers in Turkey since the attempted coup in July 2016, and the ongoing ‘state-led campaign of intimidation and harassment’ against judges in Poland. An interim decision from the ECJ from December 2018 had already ordered the Polish authorities to restore the Supreme Court to its composition before the law came into force. Its head has announced that among his plans is “banning LGBT ideology”, and critics warn that the aim of the body is to pursue a conservative “moral crusade”, including by restricting women’s and LGBT rights. The mayor was known for his support of LGBTI rights and openness towards refugees and migrants. Both Hungary and Poland are at the forefront of criticism for perceived attacks on everything from attacks on the judiciary, media freedom and the rule of law to abortion and LGBTI rights. Solidarności 77, 00-090 Warsaw, Poland Website: www.rpo.gov.pl General email address: biurorzecznika@brpo.gov.pl Helpline: +48 800 676 676 and telephone number: +48 22 55 17 700 Contact person for media enquiries: Anna Kabulska (a.kabulska@brpo.gov.pl) Overview In August, 48 protestors were detained and others met with violence and homophobic slurs from the police, Poland already has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Foreign economic policy. There were concerns over the adequacy of the police protection of the participants and the lack of safe access to the beginning of the march. 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