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HFHR to provide legal aid for patient with chronic pain

The HFHR has been dealing with a case of a woman suffering from chronic pain who was refused the reimbursement of costs of a medicine with dried cannabis. The woman’s condition causes acute pain in legs, which prevents her from performing activities of daily living and forces her to use crutches. The decision of the […]

15.09.2017more
Access to legal abortion: ECtHR judgments still not executed

The HFHR has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, addressing the absence of Poland’s full compliance with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights issued in “Polish” cases concerning access to legal abortion. As the communication emphasised, there are no mechanisms in Poland that would guarantee that women […]

14.09.2017more
Danuta Przywara’s speech on HDIM 2017

On September 12, Danuta Przywara, the president of the HFHR, gave a speech at the morning plenary session of the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on the freedom of association, freedom of assembly and the role of civil society in the protection of human rights.

13.09.2017more
Psychiatric condition and deprivation of liberty. HFHR intervenes in case of schizophrenia patient detained on remand

HFHR has intervened in the case of a young man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia who was put in pretrial detention. Over the period of four months so far spent in custody, the man’s mental health reportedly deteriorated significantly.

11.09.2017more
ECJ Advocate General: Member States not are allowed to deny judicial review of visa refusal

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has delivered an opinion concerning the case of a Moroccan national who was refused a Schengen visa by the Polish Consul in Rabat. 

08.09.2017more
HFHR intervenes in the case of racist assault in Lubawa

The HFHR has reached out to the Regional Prosecutor in Elbląg regarding the racist incidents and attacks that had allegedly taken place in Lubawa.

07.09.2017more
HFHR’s opinion on proposed reform of disciplinary proceedings in uniformed services

The HFHR has sent a legal opinion for the Senate on a bill amending the Police Act and certain other acts. The bill intends to change the rules that apply to the reinstatement of disciplinary proceedings in uniformed services, a reform that the HFHR has been long calling for.

07.09.2017more
Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2017

This year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, the biggest European conference on human rights organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is starting on 11 September.

06.09.2017more
New rules for violence victims’ fund: who’ll get the most of it? Joint statement of HFHR and ALI

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention have sent a statement to the Minister of Justice, expressing concerns over proposed changes to the way in which the Fund for Victims and Post-Penitentiary Support works. Fund to pay for law enforcement operations Changes to the Fund’s functioning are forced by an […]

05.09.2017more
HFHR on National Forum of Polish Non-Governmental Organisations’ Initiatives

On 8 and 9 September, Warsaw will host the National Forum of Polish Non-Governmental Organisations’ Initiatives, a recurrent triennial initiative attended by representatives of non-governmental organisations, local government units, public administration and the business. Each Forum’s leading event is a conference devoted to the collaboration within the non-governmental sector and relations between NGOs and external […]

04.09.2017more
Civic Solidarity Platform’s fact finding mission to Armenia

Responding to accounts of Armenian authorities’ interferences with the work of attorneys appearing at high-profile political trials, the international Civic Solidarity Platform decided to deploy a fact finding mission to Armenia. The mission is led by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

01.09.2017more
Brutality of Prison Service officers. Regional Prison Service chief reports beating to prosecutors

The HFHR has received the response of a regional director of the Prison Service to its intervention letter about a case of an inmate physically assaulted by a prison guard. The director wrote that he had sent to a prosecutor’s office an official criminal complaint against the guard allegedly responsible for the beating and that […]

30.08.2017more
19-year-old dies in holding cell: reply of prosecutor’s office

The HFHR has intervened in the case of the nineteen-year-old Piotr who died in hospital from injuries caused by beating.

29.08.2017more
What reform of courts do we need?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented a policy paper on the justice reform to the President of Poland, describing proposals of changes that should be sought during an overhaul of the courts system. The paper is based on the Foundation’s long-term experience in the monitoring of legislative reforms in the area of justice […]

29.08.2017more
Right to say goodbye to dying person: appellate hearing

The family of a deceased prisoner has brought a lawsuit against a prison that prevented them from saying goodbye to their dying relative. The claimants requested that the prison issued an apology and compensated them for moral injuries.

28.08.2017more
New rules of designation of disability reasons needed, HFHR comments

The HFHR has sent a submission to the Chair of the Interdepartmental Team for the Development of a System of Disability and Occupational Disability Assessment, urging her to take into consideration a necessity of amending the rules that govern designation of reasons of disability in disability certificates.

24.08.2017more
Helsinki Committee in Poland, Managing Board and the Board of Directors of the HFHR comments on surveillance of members of NGOs

The Managing Board, the Board of Directors of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Helsinki Committee in Poland expressed their utmost concern in a statement on surveillance of members of civil society organisations and opposition.

22.08.2017more
ECtHR to communicate Poland applications of refugees denied entry in Terespol

The applications have been submitted by Russian citizens of Chechen origin who many times attempted to apply for international protection at the Terespol border crossing station. During border checks, the foreigners said they had been at risk of persecution in Chechnya. However, the Border Guard denied them an opportunity to submit asylum applications and sent […]

18.08.2017more
The call for entries to the 2nd edition of FUTURE DOCS is now open

From now on, documentary filmmakers and human rights defenders can submit their applications to the 2017-2018 edition of FUTURE DOCS. The focus of this year’s edition of the project are Nordic and Baltic countries as well as Central Europe.

11.08.2017more
Competition for Belarusians – study visit in Geneva

Attention human rights activists and advocates from Belarus! The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights invites you to take part in a competition whose winners will participate in a study visit in Geneva and attend the 94th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

10.08.2017more
Brutality of Prison Service officers. HFHR intervenes in case of assaulted inmate

Officers of the Prison Service have sent an anonymous letter the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, asking the HFHR to intervene in a case of violent behaviour of a fellow officer employed in a prison.

09.08.2017more
Poland is closing borders for refugees, statistics say

In 2016, the number of submitted applications for international protection in Poland decreased considerably, confirm the official statistics of the Border Guard. A spokesperson for the Office for Foreigners told Rzeczpospolita daily that this was a consequence of the Government’s policy that aims to “seal” Polish borders as well as Western European countries’ more strict […]

08.08.2017more
Council of Europe published freedom of speech handbook written by HFHR lawyer

The Council of Europe has published a guidebook for lawyers, entitled Protecting the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. A handbook for legal practitioners. The publication was written by Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, a lawyer of the HFHR and Director of the Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland.

07.08.2017more
“Right to say goodbye” versus pre-trial detention

The HFHR has intervened in the case of X, a suspect put in pre-trial detention who wanted the attended his father’s funeral.

07.08.2017more
“Polka Nie-podległa” poster case: trial commences

The trial of three Green Party activists, accused of insulting the Anchor, a sign of Polish WW2 Underground State, started before the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście. The accused have allegedly committed the offence by displaying a poster with gender symbols added to the tips of the Anchor symbol.

03.08.2017more
Channel Three journalist returns to work after disciplinary dismissal

In November 2016 Paweł Sołtys was dismissed on disciplinary grounds from Polish Radio Channel Three. The journalist filed a court action, contesting the dismissal. On the first hearing held in June, the parties settled the case. According to the terms of the settlement, the journalist will be reinstated to work in this week. Mr Sołtys […]

01.08.2017more
Ophthalmologist’s refusal to admit patient with assistance dog violates patients’ rights

The District Court for Kraków-Podgórze ruled that an ophthalmologist’s cancellation of an appointment of Jolanta Kramarz, a blind patient travelling with an assistance dog, constituted a violation of patients’ rights.

31.07.2017more
Reporter working in Białowieża Forest attacked

“We urge law enforcement authorities to conduct an effective investigation in order to uncover the details of this case and bring justice to the perpetrators of the attack, in the view of the guarantees for journalists’ safety at work”, reads today’s statement of the Helsinki Foundation, in which the HFHR comments on the violent attack […]

31.07.2017more
Persons in pre-trial detention have equal right to psychiatric treatment: another HFHR intervention

The HFHR has intervened in the case of Daniel, who is currently detained pending trial.

31.07.2017more
Police target Opposition politicians and NGO activists

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights issued a statement, commenting on police activities targeting representatives of non-governmental organisations and opposition parties during recent social protests.

27.07.2017more
Catholic Church and protection of adopted children data – HFHR next moves

The HFHR has asked the Commissioner for Human Rights, Children’s Rights Commissioner and the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data to ensure that the personal data of adopted children processed in parish records are adequately protected. In March this year, the Foundation presented a similar call for action to the President of the […]

25.07.2017more
NGOs from across the world asks Polish President to veto the acts undermining judicial power in Poland

Over 50 civil society organizations from across the world appeal to the President of Poland Andrzej Duda to veto three acts regarding the functioning of the justice system in Poland.

22.07.2017more
Border Guard ignores ECtHR measures again

The HFHR has submitted a motion to the European Court of Human Rights, asking for interim measures in the case of three Syrian refugees.

21.07.2017more
HFHR on new Supreme Court Act

According to the Helsinki Foundation, the newly enacted law on the Supreme Court, if adopted, will effectively abolish the Supreme Court.

20.07.2017more
Man erroneously declared dead: trial commences

A civil action brought by a man who had been declared dead based on an incorrect death certificate is pending before the Regional Court in Warsaw. The case is handled by the HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme and the claimant is represented pro bono by Mr Andrzej Tomaszek.

20.07.2017more
Polish Supreme Court Under Attack as Crucial Vote Looms

The draft amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court, submitted on the evening of July 12, undermines the separation of powers and rule of law in Poland.

19.07.2017more
HFHR’s success: Formerly stateless Viktoriia, originally from Ukraine, received Polish nationality

The President of Poland conferred nationality to 26-year-old Viktoriia, formerly stateless for a few years. Viktoriia arrived in Poland several years ago and lost her Ukrainian nationality during the process of conferring Polish nationality, which was not received on time.

19.07.2017more
HFHR opinion on National Freedom Institute Bill

During the last Sejm session before summer holidays, the lower chamber of Polish Parliament will debate on a proposed law on the National Freedom Institute – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. This new institution is designed to implement projects for the development of civil society and distribute funding to non-governmental organisations.

18.07.2017more
The draft amendment to the Act on the Supreme Court

„The draft law amending the Act on the Supreme Court, directed to the Parliament by the governing majority, is an attempt to introduce an unconstitutional change  to the system of government of the Republic of Poland and contravene the principle of the separation of powers” – says the statement signed by the members of the […]

13.07.2017more
HFHR comments on behaviour hindering work of TVP Info journalist

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has noted with concern that some protesters who took the streets on 10 July 2017 to oppose the monthly commemoration of the Smolensk catastrophe behaved in the way that prevented Michał Rachoń, a journalist of TVP Info channel, from properly reporting the event. 

13.07.2017more
Torture victim released after 10 months in immigration custody

During today’s hearing, a district court denied the Border Guard’s motion to extend the period of stay at an immigration facility in the case of the Foundation’s client, once subjected to brutal violence in her country of origin.

12.07.2017more
Teen victim of rape awarded quarter million zlotys in moral damages

A middle school student was raped by three pupils of the same school. In a case heard by a regional court, she won PLN 250,000 in compensation for moral injuries to be paid by the perpetrators.

11.07.2017more
Senate works on law regarding reinstatement of disciplinary proceedings in uniformed services

The Senate’s Rule of Law, Human Rights and Petition Committee has accepted the proposal to promote a law designed to amend the rules governing the reinstatement of disciplinary proceedings in the Police and other uniformed services.

10.07.2017more
E-learning course on human rights – first year summarised

In the school year 2016/2017, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights conducted three runs of the “Human Rights” e-learning course. A total of 452 students attended.

07.07.2017more
HFHR intervenes in racist assault case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has contacted the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Opole, drawing the Office’s attention to a case that involved a violent assault against a woman accompanied by Indian men. Three unidentified males had reportedly offered offensive, racist comments while talking to the Indians. The woman was reportedly accosted and then punched […]

05.07.2017more
EU Should Tackle Unsafe Returns to Belarus – a joint statement of Amnesty International, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch

Poland blocks asylum seekers at border in defiance of European Court rulings The European Commission should take enforcement action to address Poland’s summary returns of asylum seekers to Belarus, three leading rights groups have said today. Amnesty International, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch highlight how Poland is in breach of human […]

05.07.2017more
Damages for tax office errors: amicus sent to ECtHR

The Helsinki Foundation has filed an amicus curiae brief with the European Court of Human Rights, presenting an analysis of the tax system of Poland, with a focus on the damages recoverable from the State Treasury for a defective tax decision.

03.07.2017more
Refusal of services to financially underprivileged: HFHR contacts fair competition authority

The HFHR has sent a letter to the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, requesting him to address the problem of financially vulnerable persons and persons at the risk of homelessness who are subjected to discriminatory treatment by personnel of restaurants and other business establishments.

03.07.2017more
Man spent fifteen years at nursing home against his will and court decisions

Thanks to an intervention of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, a man considered partially incapacitated was able to leave a nursing home where he had been living for fifteen years.

30.06.2017more
Asylum seeker files lawsuit against Poland in Strasbourg after 31 unsuccessful attempts to file application for international protection at Terespol border crossing

A Chechen asylum seeker, who had repeatedly been refused an opportunity to file an application for international protection by the Border Guard, has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, seeking remedies against Poland.

29.06.2017more
Supreme Court to rule on legality of publication of lawbreaking police officer’s photo

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief in a case that concerns the protection of the image of public officials and rules governing press publication of such an image.

26.06.2017more
Members of International Baccalaureate Programme face double standards in admission to Polish universities

The HFHR has received a reply from the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland regarding the difficulties faced by alumni of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in university admission procedures. CRAS determined that the relevant provisions of the Education System Act were discriminatory in nature.

23.06.2017more
HFHR intervenes in case of Austrian’s death in police custody

HFHR has intervened in the case of a national of Austria who died at the First Police Station in Częstochowa.

21.06.2017more
Constitutional Tribunal heard Prosecutor General’s motion on National Council of Judiciary

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the current procedure for the appointment of judge members of the National Council of the Judiciary was unconstitutional. In April 2017, the Prosecutor General asked the Tribunal to launch the judicial review of the appointment rules. At the same time, the Sejm is working on a proposed amendment to the […]

20.06.2017more
Another attack against organisation advancing LGBT rights

The head office of another non-governmental organisation promoting the rights of LGBT+ persons has recently been targeted by an attack. This time, unknown perpetrators broke into the office of Stonewall Group Association from Poznań.

19.06.2017more
Was refusal to let Togo national onto bus motivated by racial prejudice? – HFHR intervenes

The HFHR sent a letter to the Regional Prosecutor in Warsaw requesting special attention to the case of a Togo national who was refused to board a bus. As follows from media reports a driver’s conducts might have been motivated by racial prejudice.

13.06.2017more
HFHR and ALI: MFA’s statement regarding ECtHR’s prohibition of refugee’s return to Belarus is groundless

In their joint statement, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Association for Legal Intervention have commented on the information provided on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the situation at the border crossing in Terespol.

12.06.2017more
Complaint to Administrative Court against denial of nursing benefit

Maria Korzeniewska* has been denied a nursing benefit granted to a carer of a person with a disability, because she receives a pension (which is half the amount of the nursing benefit) and the law excludes the possibility of simultaneous payment of a pensions and benefit.  Pro bono attorneys of CMS Cameron McKenna Greszta i […]

09.06.2017more
Attorneys at border: Poland failed to implement ECtHR judgment

The Warsaw Bar Council, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Association for Legal Intervention have issued a joint communique concerning the case of a foreign national turned away at the border crossing in Terespol in contravention of an order made by the European Court of Human Rights, which requested cessation of such procedures.

09.06.2017more
Lesser independence of judiciary

During the next session of the Sejm, parliamentarians will debate on an amendment to the Courts Act. The amendment lowers judges’ retirement age and empowers the Minister of Justice to dismiss all presidents of courts and later arbitrarily appoint their replacements without the need to consult with judges of a given court. Together with previously […]

07.06.2017more
Journalists or police officers? HFHR responds to police action during football match

The Helsinki Foundation has sent a letter to the Chief Commissioner of the Police, commenting on the incident that recently occurred during a football match between Ruch Chorzów and Górnik Łęczna, which involved police officer wearing media vests.

06.06.2017more
Administrative court rules in favour of Chechen refugee refused entry to Poland

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has decided the case brought by the HFHR’s client, a refugee from Chechnya, who tried to file an application for international protection at the border crossing station in Terespol. The Border Guard did not accept the application and issued a decision refusing entry to Poland, which was based only […]

02.06.2017more
“My lawyer, my Rights”, report on children access to lawyers

The HFHR has published a report prepared as part of the European project “My lawyer, my Rights” designed to map children access to a defence lawyer in juvenile justice proceedings and criminal proceedings.

01.06.2017more
What are limits of Justice Minister’s freedom to express his opinions on judges?

This is the very question the Regional Court in Warsaw needs to answer in deciding a personal interests protection action brought by district court judge Justyna Koska-Janusz against the Minister of Justice (case no. I C 1115/16).

31.05.2017more
Rights of detained persons. Basic legal and practical problems – HFHR’s perspective

A delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited Poland from 11 to 22 May.

30.05.2017more
Presidential pardon to be scrutinised by Supreme Court. HFHR’s opinion

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae opinion to the Supreme Court in the matter of admissibility of the President’s pardon granted to a person convicted in a non-final judgment. A panel of seven judges of the Supreme Court will hear the matter this Wednesday.

29.05.2017more
Printer vs. LGBT Business Forum: conviction upheld

On 26 May 2017, the Regional Court in Łódź upheld the conviction of a printer who refused to produce a roll-up for an LGBT organisation because of his beliefs. The first instance court found the printer guilty of a petty offence but waived the penalty. The HFHR observed the trial.

29.05.2017more
Threat of EU sanctions for Hungary – stern warning for Poland

On 17 May, the European Commission decided to take another step under the procedure carried out in the case of violation of EU provisions by Hungary. The EC referred to measured introduced to Hungarian asylum law. Human rights organisations warn in the joint statement that this is a clear message for the Polish government that […]

26.05.2017more
Police brutality

The monitoring of cases of police officers’ misconduct is an inherent part of the operations of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. As the HFHR’s practical experience and cases referred to us show, excessive use of violence by the police is a key problem in this area.

22.05.2017more
Online media archives – a source of knowledge about the past or a privacy threat?

The digital revolution has changed press archives creating an alternative to paper collections with limited access that gathered dust on library shelves. Nowadays, older publications are easily and widely available online.

12.05.2017more
Regional Court in Katowice: age cannot determine amount of compensation

The Regional Court in Katowice increased the amount of compensation for a moral loss awarded to an elderly person who had suffered injuries in a traffic accident. Accordingly, the Court changed the judgement of the 1st instance court, in which the victim’s age had been considered a reason for awarding lower compensation.

11.05.2017more
Tomasz Zimoch vs. Public Radio – trial commences

On 9 May, two lawsuits related to the termination of Tomasz Zimoch’s employment at Polskie Radio, Polish state-owned radio corporation, were first heard by a Warsaw court. The HFHR observes the case as part of its Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland.

11.05.2017more
HFHR comments on human rights education in new core curricula

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented an opinion on the proposed core curricula sections on human rights education and civic education to Minister of National Education Anna Zalewska.

11.05.2017more
HFHR issues statement about recent attack on Campaign Against Homophobia headquarters

In the wake of another attack on the headquarters of Campaign Against Homophobia, the HFHR calls representatives of the Government to firmly condemn all manifestations of hate based on prejudice. At the same time, the Foundation expresses hope that the proceedings conducted by law enforcement authorities will contribute to the explanation of all circumstances of […]

11.05.2017more
Regional Court revoked Province Governor’s order prohibiting public assembly

On 10 May, the Regional Court in Warsaw revoked the Province Governor’s order on the prohibition of an assembly, which was based on the amended Assemblies Act. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, represented by Mr Marcin Szwed and Adam Ploszka, joined in the proceedings pending in this case.

10.05.2017more
UN Universal Periodic Review of Poland

The constitutional crisis, protection of the independence of the justice system, the safeguarding of the freedom of the media and speech and the protection of LGBT persons from violence and discrimination as well as support for victims of domestic violence were the leading topics discussed by UN Member States during the session of the Universal […]

10.05.2017more
To the memory of Wiktor Osiatyński

Wiktor Osiatyński was a lawyer, sociologist, political scientist and a writer.

05.05.2017more
HFHR asks MNE about new core curriculum for preschools and rights of children with disabilities

The HFHR has sent a statement to the Minister of National Education, referring to the new core curriculum for preschools that fails to contain direct information on the course of study adopted to the needs of children with disabilities.

28.04.2017more
Application to ECtHR on behalf of incarcerated schizophrenia patient

The Helsinki Foundation has prepared an application to the European Court of Human Rights for Daniel Boczarski*, challenging conditions of his incarceration. In February, the HFHR contacted the governor of Mr Boczarski’s prison, asking for a comment on the allegations made by the Foundation’s client.

28.04.2017more
Compensation for elderly person decreased because of age – appellate hearing

District Court in Sosnowiec has awarded a lower compensation for a moral loss to an elderly person injured in a car accident because the injured party has to face the consequences of the accident, which, according to the court’s assessment, were “less long lasting and severe than those faced by a younger person”.

24.04.2017more
Rules of juvenile justice proceedings still not aligned with Strasbourg standards

The HFHR sent a petition to the Senate, requesting the launch of works on new rules governing court orders extending the length of placements at youth shelters.

20.04.2017more
HFHR statement on Ameer Alkhawlany’s obligation to return

The Head of the Office for Foreigners admitted the HFHR to the proceedings in the case concerning the obligation to return imposed on Ameer Tawfeek Hassan Alkhawlany. The foreign national has been already expelled to Iraq but appellate proceedings are still pending in his case.

18.04.2017more
New leaflets for foreigners

“Victims, suspects, accused. The rights of foreigners in criminal proceedings” is the most recent leaflet prepared by the HFHR for foreigners living in Poland.

18.04.2017more
Senate committee will look at disciplinary proceedings against police officers

The HFHR issued a petition to the Speaker of the Polish Senate, which calls for launching legislative work to amend the rules of reinstating disciplinary proceedings against officers of the uniformed services.

14.04.2017more
Supreme Court rules on unlawful placement in guarded immigration centre

The Supreme Court has published a judgment in the case concerning compensation for moral injuries suffered by a family of refugees unlawfully placed at the Guarded Centre for Foreigners in Przemyśl.

13.04.2017more
UN Universal Periodic Review of Poland slated for May

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights in Poland will take place on the 9 May session of the Human Rights Council. The UPR is a standard and cyclical procedure designed to assess the human rights record of UN member states.

13.04.2017more
Protect the Last Line of Defence for Hungarian Democracy

Prime Minister Orbán of Hungary wants to silence Hungarian rights activists, pro-democracy NGOs and investigative journalists. Friends of democracy and civil liberties must stop him: sign our petition.

12.04.2017more
Tear gas used at immigration centre in Biała Podlaska. HFHR comments

On 6 April, foreigners placed at the guarded immigration centre in Biała Podlaska informed the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights about their food strike against the expulsion of a Chechen family (mother and two children). The strike was also staged in protest at the events of the night of 5 April and early morning of […]

07.04.2017more
Does new mode of appointments of junior judges undermine triple division of power? HFHR’s opinion

The HFHR has presented the speaker of the Sejm with a legal opinion on a proposed amendment to the National School of Judiciary Act. The proposed amendment seeks to introduce changes to the procedure governing the appointment of associate judges. In the Polish courts system, associate judges are judges called to the bench for a […]

06.04.2017more
Containers for refugees – another step back in protection of foreigners’ rights

Upon the invitation of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, the HFHR has presented its comments to a draft regulation that amends the regulation on guarded centres for foreigners and immigration detention centres.

06.04.2017more
HFHR in defence of Central European University in Budapest

The HFHR has called Hungarian Minister of Human Resources Zoltan Balog to abolish the adoption of controversial laws on higher education, which will result in the closure of the Central European University in Budapest (CEU), a world’s top university providing education in the areas of law, human rights and social sciences. Unfortunately, the Hungarian Parliament […]

04.04.2017more
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urges Sejm Speaker to address concerns over laws on National Council of the Judiciary

In a letter to the Speaker of the Polish Sejm, the Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has expressed his deep concern over the amendments to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland that are to be debated in the upcoming parliamentary session.

03.04.2017more
Constitution: 20th Anniversary

2 April 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland by the National Assembly.

02.04.2017more
HFHR issues opinion on asylum procedure of Ameer Alkhawlany

As a community organisation, the HFHR takes part in the procedure for granting international protection to Mr Ameer Alkhawlany, an Iraqi national and a PhD student at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. The HFHR prepared its opinion in this case and submitted it to the Council for Foreigners, the body that hears appeals against decisions […]

29.03.2017more
Application to ECtHR on patient’s exclusion from orphan drug programme

The HFHR has prepared an application to the European Court of Human Rights for S., the parents of a minor patient excluded from a state-financed programme for the treatment of an ultra-rare disease.

28.03.2017more
“Business vs. human rights” project launches publication

The publication entitled “Business vs. human rights – the current state of discussion” has been launched by the project with the same name, operated by the HFHR from April to December 2016 and supported by the Polish Business Roundtable.

23.03.2017more
First hearing in case of dismissed lawyer of Polish Security Printing Works

On Wednesday 15 March, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście heard the case brought by a former employee of the Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW). Ewa Morawska-Sochacka was dismissed by the company for a “disciplinary violation” after she wrote to the president of the company’s supervisory board pointing to possible negative consequences of planned organisational reforms.

23.03.2017more
International NGOs oppose surge in arrests and intimidation in Belarus

Forty-eight non-governmental organisations from 24 countries, including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, have signed an open letter to President Alexander Lukashenka, protesting against a wave of arrests and harassment that has been sweeping over Belarus from early March.

23.03.2017more
Social organisations protest against drastic restrictions of civic freedoms

On 16 March 2017, the Constitutional Tribunal heard the President’s application for the constitutional review of the provisions amending the Assemblies Act that were enacted in December 2016. The amendment was adopted by the parliamentary majority and opposed by the opposition and civic society activists.

21.03.2017more
HFHR appeals to Catholic Church for unification of provisions governing protection of personal data of adopted children

The HFHR has appealed to the President of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki asking for the unification of intra-ecclesial provisions governing the rules of processing of personal data of adopted children.

20.03.2017more
At the border. Attorneys from Warsaw Bar, HFHR and ALI help asylum seekers in Terespol

On Friday 17 March, a group of 14 attorneys from the Warsaw Regional Bar Association provided assistance to persons seeking international protection (refugee status) in Poland at the Brest-Terespol border crossing station. The event is a joint initiative of the Warsaw Regional Bar Association, the HFHR and the Association for Legal Intervention, the organisations that […]

17.03.2017more
Constitutional Tribunal: amendments to Assemblies Act constitutional despite all objections

A panel of 11 judges of the Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that the provisions granting privileges to cyclical assemblies are constitutional. The judgment was adopted by a majority vote, with the participation of the persons appointed to judicial posts in December 2015 without a valid legal basis.

16.03.2017more
Judgment in case involving Professor of University of Warsaw beaten up in tram for speaking German

The Regional Court for Warszawa-Wola sentenced to 10 months in prison an offender guilty of beating the Professor of the University of Warsaw in a tram for having a conversation in German.  In the court’s opinion, the offender’s behaviour was not an offence motivated by hatred based on national differences.

14.03.2017more
Can pre-trial detention last for nearly eight years? HFHR’s opinion

The HFHR has submitted an opinion on a case of extensively long pre-trial detention to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. The opinion referred to the pre-trial detention standards developed in the jurisprudence of the ECtHR. In our opinion, pre-trial detention of a duration of nearly eight years is a violation of the European Convention […]

13.03.2017more
Strasbourg judgment is not the end. HFHR publishes report on implementation of judgments against Poland

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has prepared a report on Poland’s implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

13.03.2017more
Journalist accused of trespassing on veterinary clinic premises acquitted

On 7 March 2017, the District Court in Nysa acquitted Dominika Wolak, a journalist of the local newspaper Nowiny Nyskie, who was charged with a trespass after she refused to leave the premises of a veterinary clinic. The judgment is not yet final.

07.03.2017more
Success in legal incapacitation case – prosecution withdraws motion

A prosecutor has withdrawn the motion for total legal incapacitation of M., a man with Down’s syndrome. The HFHR has joined the proceedings and presented a legal opinion in which we pointed to disadvantages associated with the application of legal incapacitation procedure. Another participant in the case was the Foundation for Persons with Disabilities Arkadia […]

06.03.2017more
Cause of disability: matter for Constitutional Tribunal or Supreme Court?

The HFHR has asked the Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a complaint in cassation in a case about the disclosure of the cause of a disability in a disability evaluation decision. According to the Foundation, the regulation that requires the disclosure of such information is unconstitutional.

02.03.2017more
Smear campaign against courts continues, HFHR issues statement

“The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights condemns the mounting attacks by members of the executive and legislative against judges of common courts and the Supreme Court”, reads the recent statement.

02.03.2017more
Danuta Przywara’s speech at UN Human Rights Council session

“What we witness today are times in which those holding the executive power too often believe others are to obey; times in which a judge can be referred to as a ‘so-called’ one, when a ruling of a constitutional court is deemed ‘a private opinion of judges’, said the President of HFHR Board Danuta Przywara […]

01.03.2017more
HFHR comments on proposed pre-publication approval amendment to Press Law Act

The HFHR has submitted its comments to a proposed amendment to the Press Law Act, which attempts to regulate the legal concept of pre-publication approval (Articles 14(2) and 49 of the PLA). According to the HFHR, given the shape of the currently applicable law, the proposals are a step in the right direction but fail […]

28.02.2017more
Opinion statement of coalition for Civic Monitoring of Candidates for Judges

“We think that the adopted procedure deprived the parliamentarians and members of the public of an opportunity to learn about a candidate’s personal qualities and their professional achievements or dispel any concerns related to a candidate”, reads the statement of a coalition of organisations conducting the Civic Monitoring of Candidates for Judges of the Constitutional […]

27.02.2017more
HFHR: proposed reform of Judiciary Council unconstitutional

Empowering the Sejm to appoint judges to the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland, increasing politicians’ influence on the judicial selection process and the President’s power to select judges – these are the key modifications included in the amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland proposed by the […]

23.02.2017more
Local government press need to be included in agenda of Sejm Culture Committee, call HFHR and association of local newspapers

The HFHR and the Association of Local Newspapers (ALN) have issued a call for action to Elżbieta Kruk, chairperson of the Sejm Committee for Culture and the Media, asking her to include the problem of press titles published by the local government in the Committee’s agenda.

21.02.2017more
Detainees with mental diseases have right to treatment: HFHR’s intervention

The HFHR has taken an intervention in the case of Daniel Boczarski* who has been serving the sentence of nine months of imprisonment. For years, he has been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. However, now the effects of his treatment may be spoiled because the conditions of his detention can aggravate the disease. 

20.02.2017more
Victim of domestic violence files complaint with UN Committee

The HFHR has reported to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) a case involving the use of domestic violence against a woman and the state’s failure to provide her with protection. “The case may be a landmark decision because it is the first time the Committee will hear a case […]

17.02.2017more
HFHR appeals to Head of Radio Merkury

After a wave of dismissals in the Poznań-based Merkury Radio Station and a recent removal from the air of a radio journalist for his inquisitive questions during an interview with one of Law and Justice politicians, the HFHR has sent a letter to the Director of the radio station. The letter points out towards legal […]

16.02.2017more
European Commission asked to activate Article 7 procedure against Poland

International human rights organisations have called the European Commission to take decisive measures in response to Poland’s “disregard” for the rule of law. Polish organisations, including the HFHR, have joined the call for action.

16.02.2017more
HFHR critical of granting immunity for re-privatisation commissioners

The HFHR has presented an opinion on the Re-privatisation Commission Act to the Senate’s Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions Committee. The Act was adopted by the Parliament’s lower chamber last Friday.

16.02.2017more
Step backwards in granting protection to foreigners – HFHR’s comments on proposed amendment

The HFHR has sent to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration its comments on the proposed amendment to the Law on legal protection for foreigners in Poland.

15.02.2017more
Complaints in cassation against denied judicial appointments

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted two complaints in cassation in cases concerning President’s refusal to appoint three judges of common courts. In the complaints, brought to the Supreme Administrative Court against a Provincial Administrative Court’s decisions, the HFHR alleges a violation of law which results in the invalidity of the proceedings.  The […]

13.02.2017more
Human rights defenders from Kazakhstan sentenced to five years in prison

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee conducted jointly a monitoring of proceedings against two NGOs activists from Kazakhstan: Maks Bokayev and Talagata Ayanova.

10.02.2017more
Man talked into murder Application to ECtHR involving person with intellectual disability

The HFHR has filed with the European Court of Human Rights an application regarding a case of P.M., a man with an intellectual disability sentenced to 25 years in prison for a double murder. The case may be a landmark decision because it sheds some light on the problem of adopting a criminal procedure to […]

09.02.2017more
Poland: independence of public service media

In this joint report, ARTICLE 19 and the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) analyse concerns regarding the independence of public service media (PSM) in Poland.

09.02.2017more
Regulator responds to HFHR’s complaint about TV evening news programme

In the opinion of the National Broadcasting Council, the public TV’s evening news report on non-governmental organisations “lacked information about the actual work of such organisations and their social role and also costs of their operations connected with the exercise of their statutory duties and involvement of NGO activists”. According to the national regulator of […]

06.02.2017more
HFHR asks Police to remove protesters’ images from a website

In a letter sent to the Chief Commissioner of the Warsaw Police Department, the HFHR is asking for the removal of images of participants in the public assemblies held near the Sejm building on 16 and 17 December 2016. The images are displayed on the Department’s official website. In their response, the Police noted that […]

02.02.2017more
Refugees are no threat to Poland’s safety

On 30 January, the Minister of the Interior and Administration presented a draft amendment to the law on granting protection for foreigners.  The HFHR has expressed a critical opinion on the legislative proposals included in the draft.

31.01.2017more
Constitutional Tribunal: what next?

The Helsinki Committee in Poland and the Council and Board of the HFHR issued a joint statement on the Constitutional Tribunal today. The document emphasised that the moment when the judges appointed without a valid legal basis took up their official duties and the Tribunal’s President was illegally elected marked the emergence of “a major […]

31.01.2017more
Interference in professional activities and persecution of independent lawyers in Crimea

On 26 January 2017 in Bakhchysaray, Crimea, Russian security services detained a lawyer, Mr. Emil Kurbedinov. Emil Kurbedinov is among few independent lawyers in Crimea who defend political prisoners.

27.01.2017more
Central and Eastern Europe: a no-go area for refugees, says report

The Helsinki Foundation and non-governmental organisations from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia has written a report entitled “Pushed Back at the Door: Denial of Access to Asylum in Eastern EU Member States”. The document is based on on-site observations of access to asylum procedure at border crossings and stations in the EU member […]

27.01.2017more
HFHR on still unclear rules for media in Parliament

The Helsinki Foundation is concerned over the media accounts of practical difficulties that have been faced in recent weeks by some of the journalists covering events at the Polish Parliament. We are worried in particular by arbitrary restrictions imposed on the media working at the Sejm, whose basis is unclear.

27.01.2017more
Landmark judgment on excessive length of administrative proceedings

The Supreme Administrative Court has issued a judgment in a case concerning the excessive length of proceedings, which lasts for over ten years. The SAC relied on the standards of human rights protection well-established in the case law of the ECtHR. The HFHR has presented an amicus curiae opinion in the case.

26.01.2017more
HFHR urges international institutions to address Government’s lack of response to racist incidents

The HFHR sent a call for action to international institutions requesting them to address the recurring acts of violence against, among others, foreigners living in Poland and members of national and ethnic minorities, which has not been properly responded to by Polish authorities.

20.01.2017more
Open letter concerning article questioning rights of persons with disabilities to obtain higher education

The HFHR has sent an open letter to Professor Piotr Nowak, PhD, the University of Białystok, who questioned in a press article the right of persons with mental disabilities and developmental disorders to obtain higher education.

19.01.2017more
HFHR protests against online publication of Sejm protesters’ images on Police website

“The HFHR opposes the publication of images of persons who took part in a gathering near the Sejm on 16 and 17 December 2016 on the website of the Warsaw Police Department”, reads a statement issued by the Foundation.

19.01.2017more
HFHR seeks remedy in Supreme Court in legal incapacitation case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and a woman named B. have submitted complaints in cassation to the Supreme Court, in which they challenge the practice of application of the legal concept of complete incapacitation.

17.01.2017more
Case of intellectually disabled person not taken seriously enough, admits Government

The ECtHR has issued a decision in the case of M.P. v. Poland (application 20416/13), accepting a unilateral declaration of the Polish Government that admitted a violation of the applicant’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the applicant’s son who claimed that had been raped by his therapist. The therapist […]

12.01.2017more
HFHR issues opinion on rules for media in Parliament

The HFHR has prepared comments on the rules for journalists working at the Polish Parliament, the Sejm. The opinion is designed to present international standards relevant for adopting rules governing the media’s coverage of parliamentary works and formulating general recommendations in this respect.

11.01.2017more
HFHR on restrictions on coverage of constitutional hearings

The Helsinki Foundation has expressed its deep concern over the limitations imposed on the media coverage of hearings conducted before the Constitutional Tribunal.

11.01.2017more
European Implementation Network launches

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Judgment Watch and Open Society Institute, together with academics and human rights advocates, have created the European Implementation Network.

09.01.2017more
First instance administrative court dismisses complaints of judges denied appointments. HFHR to file a complaint in cassation

On 29 December 2016, the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw dismissed the complaints of judges who had been denied presidential appointments. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights plans to appeal against the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court.

05.01.2017more
Chief Justice of Poland’s Constitutional Court elected at illegal session?

On 20 December 2016, the Acting President of the Constitutional Tribunal Julia Przyłębska convened a session of the General Assembly of Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal. The HFHR has requested the disclosure of the minutes of the session. The documents we received suggest that the General Assembly’s deliberations might have been held in violation of […]

05.01.2017more
Rules for media covering court cases – guidebook for journalists

In the context of the case of TVP Info disclosing sensitive information about the court proceedings conducted in Ewa Tylman’s murder case, the HFHR would like to recall the basic rules applicable to journalists who provide coverage of court cases. 

05.01.2017more
Rules of display of images of public officials – complaint brought to Supreme Court

The HFHR supported journalists of local media outlets in the submission of a complaint in cassation to the Supreme Court. The journalists’ case concerns the right to protect the image of public officials and rules governing the publication of such an image. As a courtesy to the HFHR, Mr Grzegorz Leśniewski, a lawyer of Olesiński […]

03.01.2017more
Pain management in Poland – will proposed changes be effective?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Ministry of Health, addressing the issue of pain management in Poland. The HFHR asks what are the Ministry’s plans to ensure that the proposed legislative changes are effective and, in particular, whether the new pain management policy secures additional funds for new and […]

28.12.2016more
Court decided case of dismissed pregnant religion teacher

Regional Court in Kraków ruled that pregnant teachers of religious education may not be deprived of protection under Polish law. According to the Court, the provisions of the Labour Code that protect pregnant women against termination of employment should be applied not only to female school teachers but also religion teachers employed in accordance with […]

27.12.2016more
Rule of law procedure for Poland – European Commission takes another step

On December 21, the European Commission adopted a second, complementary recommendation regarding the rule of law in Poland. According to the European Commission, there is still a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland, which should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

22.12.2016more
HFHR comments on Re-privatisation Review Commission Bill

The HFHR has presented an opinion on the government-sponsored Re-privatisation Review Commission Bill. The opinion, delivered to the Sejm Legislative Committee, read that the proposed law is incapable of attaining any of the objectives set by sponsors of the Bill.

21.12.2016more
Acquitted police officer may protect his reputation in disciplinary proceedings – application to Strasbourg Court

The HFHR has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of an acquitted police officer who could not reopen disciplinary proceedings that led to his removal from service. The application indicated that such a situation resulted in a violation of the Convention and in particular the right to protect […]

19.12.2016more
HFHR: more legislation on Constitutional Tribunal will only spark further legal dispute

Over recent days, the Sejm has adopted three laws regulating the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal*. Thus, within the last year, six laws on the Constitutional Tribunal have been adopted. As long as the first three aimed at crippling the effective functioning of the Tribunal, i.e. an on-going review of the legislation enacted by the […]

19.12.2016more
HFHR appeals to parliamentary Speakers about journalists’ working conditions

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights calls on the Speakers of the Sejm and Senate for ensuring that members of the media can fully and effectively report current events at the Parliament.

18.12.2016more
HFHR on bill against Communist secret police

“The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights thinks that the Sejm should stop working on a disproportionate limitation of pension entitlements of the law enforcement officers who had long served to protect the order and security of the Republic of Poland”, reads the HFHR’s opinion on a draft law targeting retired officers of the now defunct […]

14.12.2016more
Police personnel trained on Universal Children’s Day

Lawyers of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Katarzyna Wiśniewska and Piotr Kubaszewski, have conducted a training session for the instructors and students of the Centre for Police Training in Legionowo to commemorate the Universal Children’s Day.

10.12.2016more
16th IFF WATCH DOCS kicks off in two days!

The 16th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film will start on Friday 9 December at the Muranów Cinema. WATCH DOCS is one of the major human rights film festivals worldwide. The agenda of the 7-day festival includes more than 60 films from all over the world. The Festival will conclude on Thursday […]

05.12.2016more
HFHR on ultra rare disease reimbursement procedures

The HFHR has submitted a legal opinion on the government’s draft law amending the Medicines Reimbursement Act. The Foundation noted that the proposed regulation may disproportionately limit constitutional right to protection of a person’s life and health.

05.12.2016more
HFHR’s opinion on amendment to Tenants Protection Act

The HFHR has presented comments to the government’s draft amendment to the Act on the protection of rights of tenants, municipal housing resources and to the Act on the financial support for the creation of social and protected housing units, and night shelters and homeless homes.

02.12.2016more
Meeting with UN Rapporteur on human rights defenders

On 28 November, representatives of several non-governmental organisations have met with Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has proposed the idea for a mutual conversation.

30.11.2016more
Freedom of assembly is for people, not state

The Sejm is currently working on an amendment to the Assemblies Act If the amendment comes into force, it will significantly restrict individuals’ ability to hold counter-demonstrations and spontaneous demonstrations.

30.11.2016more
HFHR supports journalists of public radio stations

In the wake of the actions of the Polish Radio Corporation taken towards members of the Trade Union of Journalists and Employees of Polish Radio Channels Three and Two, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has decided to support the journalists. At the request of the HFHR, Wardyński i Wspólnicy agreed to provide pro bono […]

30.11.2016more
Law on persons “posing threat” is constitutional

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the vast majority of the provisions of the Act on proceedings against mentally disturbed persons who pose a threat to life, health or sexual liberty of others remains in compliance with the Constitution. The constitutional review proceedings were initiated by the President of the Republic of Poland, the Commissioner for […]

24.11.2016more
Conviction for torching Jew effigy

On 21 November, the District Court for Wrocław-Śródmieście entered a judgment in the case that involved the public burning of a Jewish effigy at the Wrocław Market Square in November 2015. The incident happened during an anti-immigration protest organised by the far-right organisations National-Radical Camp and All-Polish Youth.

22.11.2016more
Senate’s amendment to prevent arrival of “superjudge prosecutors”

A prosecutor will not have authority to overthrow decisions of a first instance court, reads the Senate’s amendment to a draft law modifying the Courts Act that was brought forward on the Upper Chamber’s session of 15 November 2016. Earlier, there were plans to add such a provision to the government’s draft of the law […]

21.11.2016more
Damages for dismissed religion teacher

The District Court for Poznań-Grunwald and Jeżyce in Poznań ruled that the dismissal of Piotr Janowicz, a religious teacher who also taught history, had been unlawful. The Court found that the school administration had taken advantage of a special and simplified dismissal procedure for religion teachers in order to deprive the teacher of trade union […]

18.11.2016more
The HFHR on draft amendment to National Remembrance Institute Act

The Sejm is working on an amendment to the National Remembrance Institute Act. The new draft introduces criminal penalties for statements imputing responsibility for crimes of the Nazi regime to the Polish nation and establishes civil law remedies for infringements of the good name of the Republic of Poland and that of the Polish Nation. […]

17.11.2016more
Assistance dogs and personal income tax

Not all owners of assistance dogs may claim costs of an assistance dog as tax deductible expenses and decrease their taxable base. The entitlement to do so is available only to a person with a certain type and degree of a disability. The Helsinki Foundation has asked the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy […]

16.11.2016more
HFHR on state duties in health care

HFHR has filed an amicus curiae brief with the European Court of Human Rights in the case Zwierz v. Poland (application no. 69950/14). The applicant alleged a violation of the right to life (Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) resulting from errors in the organisational structure of […]

10.11.2016more
Constitutional Tribunal to rule on law allowing post-prison detention of convicts

On 15 November, the Constitutional Tribunal will review the constitutionality of a law that allows authorities to detain most dangerous criminals even after they serve their full prison sentences. The HFHR has been monitoring works on this law since the very beginning and prepared an amicus curiae brief for the Constitutional Tribunal.

09.11.2016more
Human Rights Committee’s recommendations for Poland

The UN Human Rights Committee has issued recommendations for Poland, expressing concerns about the independence of the Constitutional Tribunal and common courts, freedom of speech in the public media, observance of the Act on family planning and conditions of the termination of a pregnancy, the absence of an effective measures against discrimination and newly enacted […]

07.11.2016more
Regulator receives complaint against public TV evening news programme

The HFHR has brought an official complaint to the National Broadcasting Council (NBC) against several news reports broadcast by TVP’s Wiadomości, the public television’s key evening news programme. The complainant alleges that the reports were purposively designed to discredit non-governmental organisations in the eyes of the public. The reports were aired on several separate days, […]

04.11.2016more
Volunteer for 16th IFF WATCH DOCS!

We are looking forward to working with people who want to help in organising the 16th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film (9-15 December).

02.11.2016more
Must blogs be registered as press titles? Judgment of Radomsko District Court

On 27 October, the District Court in Radomsko acquitted Paweł Zięba, the administrator of the “Jawny Przedbórz” blogging website, of the charge of issuing a magazine without registration. The Court held that the blog was neither a daily newspaper nor a magazine and therefore was exempt from the registration obligation. The HFHR has prepared an […]

02.11.2016more
Helsinki Committee’s statement on the withdrawal from distribution academic publications on democracy

„Withdrawal from distribution by the Sejm’s Publishing House of the three academic publications concerning democracy is an act of censorship” reads the statement of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

02.11.2016more
“Road to nowhere” – report from Brest-Terespol border crossing

According to the accounts of foreign nationals and human rights advocates working at the border crossing station in Brest-Terespol, may migrants arriving at the border between Poland and Belarus have recently intended to seek international protection in Poland. However, Border Guard officers ignore such declarations and deny the foreign nationals entry to Poland.

27.10.2016more
Prosecutor or super judge?

The Sejm works on an amendment to the Excessively Lengthy Proceedings Complaint Act. A draft version of the amendment gives a public prosecutor the power to apply to the court for the reassignment of a case to a prosecutor’s office in order to have preparatory proceedings complemented.

27.10.2016more
Parliamentary administration responds to HFHR’s intervention statement on media access rules

“The Chancellery of the Sejm does not intend to make any changes to the rules governing media professionals’ work at the Sejm that would contravene universally applicable laws or the standards of a democratic state ruled by law or be a sign of impeding or quelling media criticism”, reads the response of the Head of […]

27.10.2016more
Amended Criminal Code will better protect children. But only children

The Sejm is working on changes to the Criminal Code. The main thrust of the planned amendment is to improve the legal protection of children. The change is a step in the right direction. However, while increasing the standard of protection of children, the amendment’s proposers turn a blind eye to the needs of other […]

26.10.2016more
Rule of Law of Recommendation. Civil society call to the Polish government

Over 90 civil society organizations from all over the world signed the letter to the Polish President and Prime Minister calling upon them to implement the recommendations set by the European Commission early in July this year. The organizations empashised that fulfilling these recommendations „will be the first steps toward restoration of the full protection […]

19.10.2016more
HFHR urges Ombudsman to address disciplinary proceedings against officers of uniformed services

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has called on the Commissioner for Human Rights to request a constitutional review of the provisions that prevent the reinstatement of disciplinary proceedings against police officers and members of certain other uniformed services after the expiry of a certain period after the date when a disciplinary decision was issued.

16.10.2016more
Court order prosecutor’s office to reopen investigation in case of non-publication of Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

On 13 October, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście revoked the Prosecutor Office’s decision to refuse to open proceedings in the case concerning the absence of publication of the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment from 9 March 2016. The HFHR filed an interlocutory appeal in this case.

13.10.2016more
Finance Ministry: dog tax provision will not be clearer

The Ministry of Finance has negatively responded to the HFHR’s petition regarding the adoption of a more comprehensible version of a provision of the Local Taxes and Charges Act, which establishes an exemption from the dog tax for persons aged 65 or more who “independently” run a household.

10.10.2016more
Right to say goodbye to dying person is legally protected personal interest, says court

A first instance court has made a ruling in the case brought by the family of a deceased prisoner. The family sought apologies from a penitentiary facility and damages for the moral injury they suffered after the prison had refused to let them say goodbye to the incarcerated family member dying in a prison hospital. […]

10.10.2016more
Ten years without Anna Politkovskaya

7 October marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an independent Russian journalist.

07.10.2016more
Report: Constitutional crisis in Poland, 2015-2016

Since its emergence in 2015, the constitutional crisis has been a major risk to human rights, the rule of law and the trias politica principle, warns the HFHR’s report “The constitutional crisis in Poland, 2015-2016”, which has been published today.

05.10.2016more
Labour Ministry: there is no need to regulate community interview procedure for homeless persons

The HFHR has received the response to the petition regarding the rules of conducting community interviews with homeless persons. Regrettably, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy failed to address the problem of inconsistent interpretation of the notion of “the place of stay”, the problematic issue which had been raised in the petition.

04.10.2016more
Foundation critical on draft of anti-abortion law

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented on 7 of July 2016 an opinion on the citizens-sponsored proposal of the anti-abortion law prepared by the Legislative Initiative Committee “Put a Stop to Abortion”. The HFHR has commented on the proposed amendments to the Family Planning Act and the Criminal Code, referring to international standards […]

03.10.2016more
Campaign #onidlanas [#TheyForUs]

The online campaign #onidlanas (or #TheyForUs) has been active for a week. The purpose of the initiative is to present how foreigners and Poles with ancestry from other countries co-create and enrich the Polish society. The campaign’s hashtag also means that They are important for us and that we oppose the rampant racism, xenophobia and […]

26.09.2016more
Justice system as tool to persecute human rights defenders

On 23 September 2016, the Helsinki Foundation, together with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and International Federation for Human Rights, organised the meeting entitled “Justice systems in former Soviet republics: guardians of justice or persecution tools?”

23.09.2016more
Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2016

This year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, the biggest European conference on human rights organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has started on 19 September.

21.09.2016more
UN Universal Periodic Review – Poland

In May 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council will evaluate the Poland’s record of compliance with the country’s human rights obligations as part of the process known as the Universal Periodic Review, or the UPR. The HFHR and Professor Zbigniew Hołda Association have presented a joint report on selected themes related to human rights […]

19.09.2016more
Restricting prisoners access to banking services violates the right to property, according to the ECtHR

On 13 September, the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgement in the case Siemaszko and Olszyński v. Poland. In its judgement, the Court found that making it difficult for prisoners to access banking services and enabling them to put their earnings into a savings account with a very low interest rate violated their […]

16.09.2016more
SAC: automated denial of permission for a partner of a Polish citizen to purchase a real property is discriminatory

The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) entered a ruling in a case concerning a Chilean man who had been denied consent to purchase a real estate in Poland on the grounds that a same-sex relationship with a Pole solemnised in another country did not prove that the foreigner had connections to Poland.

14.09.2016more
Amendments to the Foreigners Act – HFHR comments

In response to an invitation from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration to take part in public consultations, the HFHR prepared a number of comments to the draft law on amending the Foreigners Act and certain other acts (draft law of 31 August 2016).

13.09.2016more
Human rights defenders appeal to the International Association of Prosecutors

The HFHR and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee has sent an appeal to the International Association of Prosecutors requesting them to examine the issue of the pressure exerted by the executive on prosecution service and the launch of proceedings against human rights defenders. Fifty NGOs from Europe and Caucasus has backed the appeal.

09.09.2016more
Person with assistance dog refused bus services: bus operator fails to comply with court order

In March 2016, the Regional Court of Warszawa-Praga in Warsaw decided that a long-distance shuttle operator’s refusal to provide transportation services to Justyna Kucińska, a blind person using an assistance dog, had constituted a violation of the woman’s personal interests. At that time, the court ordered the carrier to issue an apology to the HFHR’s […]

07.09.2016more
HFHR on liability for unauthorised disclosure of criminal evidence

R. was charged with having publicly disseminated information from criminal preparatory proceedings before it was made public as part of a trial. The HFHR has filed an amicus curiae brief in the proceedings pending before a first instance court.

06.09.2016more
Unconstitutional future of Azerbaijan

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has proposed a number of amendments to the country’s constitution. The proposed changes are inspired by the situation and events in Turkey. The people of Azerbaijan are to vote on the future of their supreme law in the national referendum scheduled for 26 September 2016. However, there are concerns […]

05.09.2016more
HFHR concerned at the refusal of entry for asylum seekers in Poland

HFHR has sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior and Administration Mariusz Błaszczak with regard to unlawful denial of entry to foreigners seeking international protection in Poland (mostly Tajiks and Chechens).

01.09.2016more
Persons with disabilities in Polish prisons – HFHR submits comments to Council of Europe Committee of Ministers

During the next session, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will discuss the implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights entered in the case concerning the absence of proper facilities for wheelchair users in Polish penitentiary facilities.

01.09.2016more
More ATMs for visually impaired persons following HFHR intervention

ING Bank Śląski has been gradually rolling out speech-enabled ATMs. The action is an effect of the HFHR’s intervention which underscored the need for adjusting cash machines to the needs of visually impaired persons.

31.08.2016more
Will new provisions increase whistleblowers protection? HFHR on international standards

In early August the Ministry of Justice requested the HFHR to present the Foundation’s position on the planned changes in law designed to increase protection of whistleblowers.

29.08.2016more
Newspaper with no cover for 30 days – statement of the HFHR on disproportionate court’s judgment

The HFHR issued a statement to express its concern about the judgment of the Regional Court in Warsaw in the case brought by Monika Janowska against the Super Express daily newspaper. In the judgment of 25 August 2016 the Court ordered Super Express to publish an apology on the whole first page of the newspaper […]

26.08.2016more
Court to hear HFHR’s interlocutory appeal in proceedings regarding refusal to publish Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

On 13 October, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście will hear the HFHR’s interlocutory appeal against the Prosecutor Office’s decision in the case concerning the refusal to publish the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from 9 March 2016. The case will be examined by a panel of three professional judges.

25.08.2016more
New facilities available for persons with disabilities during entry exams for legal professions training

Owing to the amendments introduced by the Minister of Justice, persons with disabilities will be able to take advantage of facilities during the entrance exams for admission to advocate, legal advisor and notary training. The HFHR drew attention to the necessity of amending the provisions already in 2013.

25.08.2016more
“Right to be forgotten” by online search engines can include more than search results

The HFHR took on a case involving a violation of privacy caused by Google search results and the search engine’s autofill feature. After the Foundation’s client full name was entered into the search box, the engine suggested content that referred to intimate information about the client.

23.08.2016more
Meeting of interns with pro bono lawyers

Interns of the HFHR and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights have attended a meeting with the members of the Warsaw Bar Association on public interest activities. Students talked to Małgorzata Mączka-Pacholak and Paweł Osik, attorneys of Pietrzak Sidor & Wspólnicy.

22.08.2016more
HFHR on ten-year administrative proceedings

The HFHR has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Administrative Court, commenting on the excessive duration of administrative proceedings that were has been pending for almost a decade. The main purpose of the opinion is to summarise the jurisprudence of the ECtHR related to the calculation of the excessive length.

22.08.2016more
Insufficient protection of witnesses and crime victims – HFHR intervenes

The HFHR has asked the Minister of Justice to take legislative action to address the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of the Act on protecting and assisting crime victims and witnesses.

18.08.2016more
New month, new interns

In early August the second group of students started a summer placement programme at the Foundation’s legal department. This month, the interns are six law students from the Universities in Kraków, Wrocław, Toruń and Warsaw.

16.08.2016more
Constitutional Tribunal Act from 22 July partially unconstitutional

The Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that the latest law on the Constitutional Tribunal (the Act of 22 July 2016) is in part unconstitutional.

11.08.2016more
HFHR on the draft amendments to the law regulating prison labour

Recent amendments to the regulations will extend the list of situations in which prisoners will be forced to undertake involuntary labour – such is a conclusion arising from the amendment to the Criminal Enforcement Code proposed by the Ministry of Justice. The HFHR has prepared a legal opinion on the planned changes.

09.08.2016more
Seminar “European Arrest Warrant in practice”

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has the pleasure of inviting attorneys and legal advisers to a seminar entitled “European Arrest Warrant in practice”, which will take place on Thursday, 8 September between 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm. at the registered office of Clifford Chance, Lwowska 19, Warsaw.

08.08.2016more
What happens after surrender of wanted person? HFHR analyses European Arrest Warrant practices

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights started the implementation of a European project named “Beyond Surrender” concerning the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

05.08.2016more
HFHR asks prosecution service about arrest of Syrian national in Zgorzelec

The Helsinki Foundation asked the District Prosecutor in Jelenia Góra for information about the current status of the criminal investigation conducted in the case of the arrest of a Syrian national in Zgorzelec made by employees of Centrum Szkolenia Specjalnego Fenix, a private security company.

05.08.2016more
No appeal against results of restructuring advisor and sworn translator exams – Ministry of Justice responds

The HFHR received the Ministry of Justice’s letter on the absence of an option to appeal against the results of examination for the restructuring advisor and sworn translator licences.

03.08.2016more
Ministry of Justice criticises district court ruling, HFHR comments

“A statement referring to a particular judgment, published on the official website of the Ministry of Justice, may be understood as an attempt to exert pressure on the constitutionally protected independence and impartiality of the judiciary”, reads the statement issued by the HFHR.

02.08.2016more
Polish Security Printing Works’ boycott of Newsweek’s publisher unreasonably interferes with freedom of speech

The Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW S.A.) has issued a statement in which the company said it would not provide information to newspapers published by Ringier Axel Springer Polska. The statement was issued in response to the questions regarding the company officers’ participation in holy masses, which were asked by a reporter of Newsweek. The […]

01.08.2016more
President signed new Constitutional Tribunal Act into law

On Saturday, 30 July, President Andrzej Duda signed the new Constitutional Tribunal Act into law amid significant backlash from the legal profession and non-governmental organisations. After the Act was passed in the Sejm, members of the Helsinki Committee in Poland joined the HFHR Board and issued a position statement in which they stated that the […]

01.08.2016more
Refugees from Tajikistan denied protection in Poland

Four families from Tajikistan that have been unsuccessfully seeking international protection at the Polish-Belarussian border had to return to Russia. From Russia, they will probably be returned to Tajikistan, where they most likely will be arrested. According to reports of international organisations, Tajikistani dissidents returning to their home country from abroad may become victims of […]

29.07.2016more
HFHR on the independence of Poland’s justice system

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights sent a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Monica Pinto, commenting on the current situation in Poland. According to the HFHR, the constitutional crisis that has lasted for over a year poses a serious threat to the independence of the entire justice […]

28.07.2016more
HFHR speaks about draft law on extended forfeiture

The Ministry of Justice has prepared a draft law on the forfeiture of proceeds of crime. The proposed piece of legislation is designed to implement relevant provisions of EU law and make good on the government’s promise regarding the counteracting VAT fraud. According to the HFHR, the draft law goes beyond the requirements set in […]

27.07.2016more
Open letter on appointments of National Media Council members

The National Media Council, the body supervising the operations of public media outlets, has been created under the newly enacted National Media Council Act. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the signatories of the Civic Pact for Public Media have urged for electing the Council members in a way that ensures the body’s independence […]

27.07.2016more
HFHR addresses situation at eastern border crossings

According to accounts provided to the Foundation by foreigners who seek international protection in Poland, it has been weeks since the Border Guard started to refuse entrance to many asylum seekers. The HFHR has sent an appeal to more than twenty international refugee rights organisations.

27.07.2016more
New Constitutional Tribunal Act – Helsinki Committee and HFHR issue position statement

On 21st July, the Sejm has passed the new Constitutional Tribunal Act. The law now awaits the President’s signature. “The new Constitutional Tribunal Act betrays the trias politica principle and paves the way towards a constitutionally unrestricted dictatorship of the parliamentary majority”, reads the position statement of the Helsinki Committee in Poland and the Board […]

27.07.2016more
European NGOs praise provisional legal aid directive

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament has approved the wording of the directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings.

20.07.2016more
Unknown defendant’s address: limitation of right to court?

The HFHR has submitted to the ECtHR an amicus curiae opinion in the case Orłowski v. Poland (application no. 5547/15). The case involves a situation where a statement of claims is returned because it does not include the defendant’s address. The European Court of Human Rights will consider whether such a situation violates the right […]

20.07.2016more
Court refuses to extradite refugee

On 14 July, the Regional Court in Warsaw denied an application to extradite a Chechen national to Russia. The man was granted refugee status in Poland and, together with his family, has been living in Poland for over 10 years.

20.07.2016more
Non-governmental organisations appeal to Pope Francis

Between 25 and 31 July 2016 Pope Francis will be visiting Poland to take part in the World Youth Day. It will be an opportunity to send out a message of peace, toleration and respect. The words spoken by Pope during the event will be especially important for the young pilgrims.

20.07.2016more
16th WATCH DOCS IFF – Last Call for Entries

The call for entries to the 16th WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film International Film Festival will be open until August 1, 2016. WATCH DOCS is one of the world’s biggest human rights film festivals. Its 16th edition will include documentary film competition with international jury, permanent repertoire sections out of competition, tributes and retrospectives, […]

19.07.2016more
“Do It Yourself” – organize your own screening

“Do It Yourself” is a new WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film International Film Festival project as part of which seven documentaries presented at previous editions of the festival can be made available to any person or institution in Poland interested in organizing a free public or private screening followed by a debate or discussion.

12.07.2016more
ECtHR Grand Chamber ruled on government’s unilateral declarations

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights heard the case Jeronovics v. Latvia (application no. 547/02). The case concerned inhuman and degrading treatment (Convention Article 3) and the right to have one’s case heard in a reasonable time (Convention Article 6).

07.07.2016more
Processed information vs. constitutional right to information about activities of public authorities

The HFHR, together with the Citizens Network Watchdog Poland, has filed an amicus curiae brief to the Constitutional Tribunal. The case concerns a constitutional review of the requirement contained in the Access to Public Information Act, according to which processed information can be obtained on matters which are especially important for the public interest.

06.07.2016more
HFHR’s second opinion on proposed amendment to Constitutional Tribunal Act

The Helsinki Foundation has prepared another legal opinion on the Constitutional Tribunal Bill. The HFHR argues that the currently debated draft law not only is likely to paralyse the Constitutional Tribunal, but also negates the achievements of the 27 years of Polish political transition because it undermines the principle of a democratic state ruled by […]

05.07.2016more
The Constitutional Role of the Judiciary in Poland Has Been Completely Undermined

The Management Board and the Board of Directors of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Helsinki Committee in Poland have issued a joint statement regarding the changes in the Polish judiciary.

05.07.2016more
Changes in legal assistance for foreigners

Dear clients, From 1 July 2016 we are introducing changes to the provision of assistance for foreigners.

01.07.2016more
Correction of defective legal guidance notice may violate right to fair trial

The HFHR has asked the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Institute of Justice to investigate the abuses that have reportedly been caused by corrections of obvious clerical errors in trial transcripts. The Foundation also asked the two bodies to review whether such practices of courts may violate procedural safeguards available for individuals.

30.06.2016more
Supreme Administrative Court to submit reference for preliminary ruling in visa case

The Supreme Administrative Court has decided to submit a reference for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice. The SAC submission concerns the interpretation of the Community Code on Visas and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights regarding a foreign national’s right to a court in the event their visa application is denied. […]

30.06.2016more
Placement of incapacitated persons at nursing homes declared unconstitutional

The Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that the provisions of the Mental Health Protection Act that regulate the placement of incapacitated persons at nursing homes by their guardians are contrary to the Polish Constitution. Last year, the Helsinki Foundation submitted an opinion on this matter before the Constitutional Tribunal.

28.06.2016more
European Parliament, Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers speak on CIA black sites in Europe

The European Parliament has adopted another resolution on CIA secret prisons in Europe. The act follows the last resolution of February 2015, which addressed the US Senate’s report published in December 2014 that revealed details of the CIA secret programme of rendition and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

27.06.2016more
Court: dismissal of Polish Radio Channel One director illegal

A court in Warsaw entered today a judgment in the case of Kamil Dąbrowa, a former editor-in-chief at Channel One of the Polish Radio. At the beginning of January, the journalist was dismissed after he had the national anthem of Poland and the anthem of the European Union aired before news services. The court awarded […]

24.06.2016more
ECtHR: dismissal of Hungarian chief justice violated European Convention on Human Rights

The Grand Chamber of the Court of Human Rights ruled that the 2011 termination of Andras Baka’s mandate of the president of the Hungarian Supreme Court had violated the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECtHR ruled that the case involved a violation of the applicant’s right of access to a court and right to […]

23.06.2016more
HFHR appeals against court-ordered total incapacitation. Will the Constitutional Tribunal step in?

The HFHR submitted an appeal against a court decision ordering the total incapacitation of an elderly person with a disability. According to the HFHR, total incapacitation constitutes a disproportionate interference with this person’s rights and liberties.

22.06.2016more
Placement of incapacitated persons at nursing homes – HFHR sends opinion to Constitutional Tribunal

The HFHR presented the Constitutional Tribunal with a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the provisions regulating the placement of incapacitated persons at nursing homes by their guardians. The Commissioner for Human Rights asked the Constitutional Tribunal to perform the constitutional review of these provisions.

22.06.2016more
Conference “A prison with no fence”

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Database Center for North Korean Human Rights are pleased to invite you to attend the conference “A prison with no fence. Exploitation and human rights abuses faced by North Korean workers in Poland”.

21.06.2016more
Barbara Skarga Brave Thinking Award for Professor Osiatyński

We are delighted to inform our readers that Professor Wiktor Osiatyński has received the Barbara Skarga Brave Thinking Award from the Polish Confederation Lewiatan, a prominent Polish employers’ organisation.

17.06.2016more
HFHR reviews draft laws on Constitutional Tribunal

The HFHR has prepared an opinion on the three draft amendments to the Constitutional Tribunal Act that are currently debated in the Sejm.

15.06.2016more
Venice Commission comments on amendment to Police Act

he Venice Commission has adopted an opinion on the amendment to the Police Act enacted by the Sejm in January 2016, presenting an assessment of the new law’s compatibility with international law. The opinion was requested by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

14.06.2016more
Public media reform, HFHR evaluates transitional law

On 7 June, Law and Justice deputies submitted a draft of the so-called Transitional Media Act to the Sejm. The HFHR has presented its opinion on this piece of legislation.

14.06.2016more
International Baccalaureate Programme hinders admission to Polish universities, HFHR intervenes

Holders of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma face difficulties while applying to Polish universities, claims the Helsinki Foundation. This is because of a legal problem that appears when applicants do not have a grade in a subject required in the recruitment process and wish to obtain such a grade. The HFHR has become involved in […]

08.06.2016more
HFHR appeals in proceedings regarding refusal to publish Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

The Helsinki Foundation has appealed against the decision of a prosecutor delegated to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Warszawa-Praga in Warsaw, which refused the initiation of preparatory proceedings in the case of the government’s failure to publish the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9 March 2016 (case no. K 47/15).

08.06.2016more
NGOs hold public hearing on Anti-Terror Act

The HFHR, the University of Warsaw, the Panoptykon Foundation, Amnesty International and the ePaństwo Foundation, with the thematic and research support from the Stefan Batory Foundation and the Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard”, have organised a Citizens’ Public Hearing on the government’s draft law on anti-terrorist activities. The hearing took place on 6 […]

07.06.2016more
ECtHR: activists from Azerbaijan subjected to inhuman treatment

On 2 June the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment concerning Azerbaijani human rights activists, Leyla and Arif Yunus. The activists were detained in connection with their activity during summer holiday of 2014. They were presented with fabricated charges of tax evasion and fraud.

02.06.2016more
Prohibition to marry for persons with intellectual or mental disabilities: HFHR sends opinion to Constitutional Tribunal

The Helsinki Foundation has presented a legal opinion to the Constitutional Tribunal, discussing the international human rights standards regarding the exercise of the right to marry by persons with an intellectual disability or mental disorders. The opinion was prepared for a proceeding pending before the Constitutional Tribunal upon the motion of the Commissioner for Human […]

31.05.2016more
Regional conference “The Role Of Civil Society In The Prevention Of Torture”

Sixty NGO representatives from the Coalitions against Torture in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as international human rights groups and representatives from other countries of the former Soviet Union will participate in a regional conference to discuss the role of civil society institutions in the prevention of torture. The conference will be held in […]

31.05.2016more
Amicus curiae brief on lawsuit of controversial psychologist

The HFHR has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Court of Appeal in Gdańsk, expressing its views on the case brought by P., an American psychologist, against The Diversity Workshop, a Polish advocacy organisation acting for LGBT persons. The psychologist is known for calling for the de-legalisation and treatment of homosexuality.

27.05.2016more
Security company that arrested Syrian national in Zgorzelec operated illegally

Centrum Szkolenia Specjalnego “Fenix” Spółka z o.o., a security company whose personnel detained a Syrian national in Zgorzelec on 2 February 2016, does not have an official licence for commercial personal and asset protection services, informs the Ministry of the Interior and Administration in a response to the HFHR’s letter.

27.05.2016more
Danuta Przywara praised by Moscow Helsinki Group

We are happy to announce that Danuta Przywara, President of the HFHR Board, has been awarded a diploma in recognition of her support provided to the Moscow Helsinki Group.

25.05.2016more
HFHR wins at court: no extension of foreigner’s detention in a guarded centre

The Regional Court in Przemyśl accepted a foreigner’s complaint against an order that extended his detention at the local Guarded Centre for Foreigners.

24.05.2016more
Different powers for officers of different uniformed services – Foundation writes to Prime Minister

The conduct of criminal proceedings against officers of uniformed services has different legal consequences, depending on a particular piece of legislation regulating the area. At a glance, the laws applicable to officers of different law enforcement bodies are similar, but there are material differences regarding, for example, the consequences of a launch of criminal proceedings […]

23.05.2016more
HFHR intervenes in cases of Police violence

In recent days, the HFHR has intervened responding to alleged police misconduct in Łódź and Wrocław. In Łódź, police officers allegedly beat an arrestee, while in Wrocław Igor S., who was also in police custody, had died after officers used an electric stunning device against him.

23.05.2016more
Azerbaijani journalist arrested and jailed for 3 years for political reasons: opinion for the ECtHR

Human rights defenders and journalists from Azerbaijan who were persecuted and arrested in 2014 filed applications with the European Court of Human Rights. Their applications are now pending hearing. The applicants include Rauf Mirgadirov, a journalist covering the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

20.05.2016more
HFHR opinion on new antiterrorism law

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued an opinion on the draft Antiterrorism Act, expressing a critical opinion on a number of proposed measures.

19.05.2016more
Conference “Open Skies, Open Societies”

The Helsinki Foundation’s lawyers attended the conference “Open Skies, Open Societies: How Civil Society Can Use New Technology for Social Change”, which took place on 9 and 10 May in Budapest. The conference focused on the non-military usage of drones by journalists, activists and non-governmental organisations.

14.05.2016more
HFHR on surveillance of journalists

“Pursuant to the standards developed within the framework of the Council of Europe, any activities of state bodies taken against journalists in order to identify their personal sources of information may lead to interference with the reporter’s privilege”, reads statement of the Helsinki Foundation on the information presented by Mariusz Kamiński, cabinet minister in charge […]

12.05.2016more
Publication of local government newspapers unconstitutional? Petition to Ombudsman

The HFHR has petitioned the Commissioner for Human Rights to address a threat to the freedom of speech at the local level, namely the practice of publishing newspapers by municipalities and districts. In the petition, the Helsinki Foundation asks the Commissioner to submit an application for the constitutional review of Article 8 of the Press […]

11.05.2016more
Public officials’ freedom of speech

“The jurisprudence of the ECtHR provides that public officials and professional civil servants are subject to a duty of loyalty to a public body which employs them. This means that these persons are obliged to act with restraint when speaking publicly”, reads the HFHR’s reply to a letter of two members of the Sejm, the […]

10.05.2016more
Correspondence with court and imprecise instructions

Claimant lost a civil suit in first instance proceedings. After the claimant lodged an appeal, second instance court dismissed it stating that the application for delivery of the judgement has been submitted beyond the deadline due to the fact that it was sent not by the Polish Post Office but by a private operator. HFHR […]

05.05.2016more
Statement of NGO alliance

A Coalition of non-governmental organisations, which since 2006 has been operating the Civic Monitoring of the Procedure for Appointment of Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal, has developed a statement on the appointment of judge Z. Jędrzejewski.

04.05.2016more
Venice Commission’s another visit to Poland

Representatives of the Helsinki Foundation and other non-governmental organisations met with the members of the Venice Commission who are working on an opinion on the amendment to the Police Act and other laws.

02.05.2016more
Should electronic tagging abroad reduce penalties imposed in Poland?

The Helsinki Foundation requested the Minister of Justice to resolve the issue of calculating periods of electronic tagging used in connection with European Arrest Warrants.

29.04.2016more
Human rights abuses in private care facilities

In April 2016 the HFHR has intervened in four cases and stated that private care facilities for persons with a disability, a chronic illness or elderly persons must be must be subjected to an effective public oversight.

29.04.2016more
HFHR opinion on National Media Act

The Helsinki Foundation has prepared an opinion on the legislative overhaul package transforming public media into national media.

27.04.2016more
Helsinki Committee on Constitutional Tribunal’s overhaul: primacy of law over force has been questioned

“It is difficult to voice one’s opinion on public matters today, when chaos and uproar stifle persuasion. Convincing and reaching out to others, alliance-seeking and the search for a common ground are suppressed by the violent force and words full of hatred”, reads the opening section of a position statement of the Helsinki Committee in […]

22.04.2016more
HFHR asks about draft amendment to Broadcasting Act

At the beginning of 2016 the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage informed that it started working on the second amendment to the Broadcasting Act.

21.04.2016more
A series of nine open lectures “Business vs. human rights – the current state of discussion”

The HFHR has the pleasure of inviting you to a series of nine meetings organised together with the Polish Business Roundtable.

20.04.2016more
Train passengers with disabilities: journey full of problems

An owner of a guide dog can receive a discount on the railway fare for the animal. However, persons using assistance dogs will not receive a similar reduction in ticket costs. The HFHR asked the Minister of Transport and Construction to address the issue of the absence of standards for charging fees for rail travel […]

20.04.2016more
Summer placement programme at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Law students are welcome to apply for a one-month unpaid summer internship in the legal department of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Applications will be accepted until 4 May. The programme’s duration is one month (July, August or September 2016, according to a trainee’s choice). Interns will be working at the head office of […]

15.04.2016more
Court: users’ data may be disclosed to the prosecution service but a post must be proved to have been defamatory

The District Court in Chrzanów described a proper procedure that should govern law enforcement bodies access to IP addresses and other data on the Internet users who post comments on websites.

14.04.2016more
New members of Strategic Litigation Programme’s Programme Board

We are pleased to announce that the following persons have become new members of the Programme Board of the Strategic Litigation Programme: advocate Dr Marcin Ciemiński, legal counsellor Piotr Golędzinowski, Professor Robert Grzeszczak Ph.D. and Professor Łukasz Pisarczyk Ph.D.

13.04.2016more
Administrative Court: Children of same-sex married couple not to acquire Polish citizenship

Children of a same-sex married couple in which one spouse is a Polish national do not have Polish citizenship, decided the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw. The court stated that the Province Governor and the Minister of the Interior reasonably refused to acknowledge that the children are Polish nationals. On the request of the HFHR […]

12.04.2016more
Compensation for imprisonment caused by judicial error

Court of Appeal in Katowice upheld the decision of a court of first instance to award PLN 80,000 in compensation to a man who was imprisoned in the result of a mistake of a court and probation officer. The Court decided that during the period of conditional suspension of a custodial penalty the man was […]

08.04.2016more
Law limiting land conveyances may be unconstitutional

The HFHR submitted to the Senate an opinion on the so-called Agricultural Land Conveyances Act. The Foundation argues that the draft law includes numerous provisions which may be violating the Constitution. During the next session on 13 and 14 April the Senate will be debating on this law.

07.04.2016more
Court: no leave to extradite refugee to Turkey

On 6 April 2016, the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski heard the application for the extradition of Erdal Gökoğlu to Turkey. Back in his home country Mr Gökoğlu is accused of being a member of an armed group. In Belgium, he obtained a refugee status.

06.04.2016more
Call for decriminalisation of insult against President

HFHR and the Press Freedom Monitoring Center of the Association of Polish Journalists, Adam Smith Centre and the Jagiellonian Institute called on Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland to launch works on the amendment to the Criminal Code which would decriminalise an insult against the President.

05.04.2016more
No compensation for unjustified psychiatric committal in ECtHR

The HFHR has submitted to the ECtHR an amicus curiae brief in the case of R. v. Poland (application no. 20206/11). The aggrieved party argued that she was unable to receive compensation for involuntary placement at a psychiatric hospital and that the proceedings in her case had been excessively lengthy.

01.04.2016more
HFHR: refugee extradition to Turkey will violate human rights

The HFHR developed two opinions on the proceedings in a case of extradition of Erdala Gökoğlu to Turkey where he is accused of being a member of an armed group. In Belgium, Mr Gökoğlu obtained a refugee status.

31.03.2016more
Foreigners’ rights – human rights: three publications coming soon

The HFHR is currently preparing three publications: “Me in the asylum procedure. About the rights and responsibilities under the procedure”, “Refugee status. Subsidiary protection in Poland. What next?” and “Foreigners in Poland. A textbook for public officials”.

24.03.2016more
Poland cannot breach obligations to receive refugees

Prime Minister Beata Szydło said that at the moment she could not see the possibility of accepting refugees into Poland. It is a consequence of the position of the Polish government, which openly expressed reluctance to the re-settlement mechanism. At the same time Polish authorities did nothing to find a constructive solution to the refugee […]

24.03.2016more
Who will be next judge of Constitutional Tribunal?

29 March was the deadline for admission of candidates for the vacant post at the Constitutional Tribunal’s bench (term of office of Judge M. Granat will expire on 27 April 2016).

23.03.2016more
Regional court: boycott of beer unlawful

The Regional Court in Warsaw has entered the judgment in the case of a boycott of a well-known brand of beer. The court ruled that the boycott was an act of unfair competition that had violated the interests of corporate owners of the brand. The court has ordered the foundation which organised the boycott campaign […]

22.03.2016more
21 March: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A wave of violence against foreigners increases.

21.03.2016more
Council of Europe concerned with no progress in Polish CIA secret prisons inquiry

During the last session on 12 March 2016, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers expressed its deep concern about the status of Poland’s enforcement of judgments in the cases of Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah.

18.03.2016more
Azerbaijani human rights activists released from prison

On 17 March 2016, just before the upcoming traditional holiday celebrating the coming of spring (Novruz), the Azerbaijani President granted pardon to a number of human rights activists.

17.03.2016more
The Venice Commission Criticizes New Polish Constitutional Tribunal Act

“Paralyzing the work of the Constitutional Tribunal poses a threat to the rule of law, democracy and protection of human rights,” said the Council of Europe’s advisory body.

16.03.2016more
CoE Committee of Ministers: nursing homes placement laws need to be amended

Last week, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers called on Poland to enforce the ECtHR judgments issued in the cases of Kędzior v. Poland and K.C. v. Poland. In both cases the ECtHR held that the Polish laws governing the procedure for placing legally incapacitated persons at state-operated nursing homes violated the Convention.

14.03.2016more
New chapter of constitutional crisis in Poland

On 8 and 9 March, the Constitutional Tribunal heard the complaints – submitted by the Commissioner for Human Rights, President of the Supreme Court, National Council of Judiciary and two groups of the Sejm deputies – against the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act passed in December 2015. The controversial law, which introduced regulations intended […]

10.03.2016more
Blind person with guide dog was discriminated against when refused to board a bus, court rules

A passenger carrier that denied a blind person travelling with a guide dog access to its services has been court-ordered to issue an apology and pay PLN 5,000 for a charitable cause. Two advocates of Wolf Theiss P. Daszkowski sp. k., Mr Aleksander Woźnicki and Mr Rafał Karbowniczek, represent the HFHR’s client pro bono, as […]

10.03.2016more
HFHR concerned with court proceedings

Defence lawyer of XY approached the HFHR and reported significant irregularities in the way the court applied pre-trial detention against his client.

09.03.2016more
Launch of Civil Observatory on Democracy

The Civil Observatory on Democracy has been launched. The Observatory is a joint initiative of non-governmental organisations seeking to improve respect for human rights and human rights protection, transparency and responsibility of public authorities and the quality of the laws the state adopts.

09.03.2016more
SAC: remission of tax arrears must work in practice

Such was the conclusion of the Supreme Administrative Court expressed in the judgement entered in a case concerning a cassation complaint filed by a taxpayer, in which he challenged the denial of cancellation of tax arrears which resulted from the violation of the right to court.

05.03.2016more
HFHR’s amicus curiae brief on amendment to Constitutional Tribunal Act

The Constitutional Tribunal will hear the complaints concerning the December amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act. The HFHR has submitted an amicus curiae brief in this case, in which we discussed the following points:

05.03.2016more
Council of Europe’s Secretary General concluded investigation into CIA secret prisons

Information provided to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe suggests that the Secretary decided to conclude the investigation into CIA secret prisons in Europe.

02.03.2016more
Polish pre-trial detention practice still far from perfect

“Poland still faces serious challenges with respect to pre-trial detention,” says the report on pre-trial detention (PTD) prepared by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

29.02.2016more
HFHR: journalist cannot independently waive obligation to protect sources

The HFHR has presented an amicus curiae brief in a case concerning a violation of a journalist’s obligation to protect the identity of an informant. The brief highlights the fact that the main purpose of the reporter’s privilege, which includes the obligation to protect sources of information, is to ensure the safety of persons who […]

29.02.2016more
Supreme Court rules about suspension of conditional pre-trial detention

The Supreme Court has recently ruled on an important issue of law, namely the question whether it is possible to suspend the execution of a conditional pre-trial detention order after a financial surety is given. The highest Polish court refused to adopt a resolution, holding that the Commissioner for Human Rights did not present sufficient […]

26.02.2016more
HFHR’s amicus curiae brief in case before Constitutional Tribunal

The Human Rights Commissioner, National Council of the Judiciary, First President of the Supreme Court and two groups of the Sejm deputies have contested the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act enacted in December 2015. The HFHR has filed an amicus curiae brief in this constitutional review case, which is expected to be heard by […]

24.02.2016more
Amendment to Code of Criminal Procedure: HFHR issues opinion

A new reform of the criminal process, which is set to happen only a year after the last amendment came into force, is likely to violate a constitutional value, namely the certainty of law ¬- reads today’s opinion statement of the Helsinki Foundation sent to the Sejm.

24.02.2016more
Call for Sejm subcommittee to deal with enforcement of ECtHR judgments

In February 2014 the Polish Sejm, as one of the first parliaments in Europe, appointed a permanent subcommittee for the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments by Poland.

19.02.2016more
District Court: disciplinary dismissal of Ewa Wanat disproportionate

On 18 February 2016, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście entered the judgment in the case brought by Ewa Wanat against the RDC radio station. According to the court, the disciplinary dismissal of the editor-in-chief, which took immediate effect, was a disproportionate measure. The HFHR joined in the proceedings as a community organisation.

19.02.2016more
Ministry comments on homeless persons’ access to social assistance services

The HFHR received the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy’s response to the Foundation’s statement on the difficulties in accessing social assistance services faced by persons experiencing homelessness.

18.02.2016more
HFHR on standards of protection of reporter’s privilege

The HFHR issued a statement on the search of the editorial offices of the Fakty i Mity weekly magazine, conducted by the law enforcement authorities. The statement recalled the need to respect the reporter’s privilege and protect journalistic sources in the face of all activities of the law enforcement services.

17.02.2016more
Monitoring places where children are deprived of liberty – conference and presentation of textbook

A European conference on the monitoring of the situation of children in detention facilities was organised in Brussels. During the meeting, the guidebook “Monitoring places where children are deprived of liberty” was presented.

16.02.2016more
HFHR on mass surveillance

The European Court of Human Rights hears two cases that concern mass surveillance of citizens by state bodies. In both cases the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented amicus curiae briefs in which it invoked standards of privacy rights and freedom of speech in the context of threats to journalistic sources of information.

11.02.2016more
HFHR comments on public register of sexual offenders

“A public register is not an effective tool to counteract the threats associated with sex crime”, reads the HFHR’s opinion statement on a draft law on addressing threats of sex crime.

11.02.2016more
Syrian citizen arrested in Zgorzelec: HFHR intervenes

The Helsinki Foundation for Human has sent a letter to the Director of the Department of Permits and Licences at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, addressing the arrest of a Syrian national made by employees of Centrum Szkolenia Specjalnego “Fenix”, a security company. The Foundation asked the Director to inquire whether the company […]

10.02.2016more
Meeting with the Venice Commission

The legislative procedure and the changes introduced in the Act on the Constitutional Tribunal – these were the main issues raised by the representatives of HFHR during the meeting with the Venice Commission.

09.02.2016more
No effective court proceedings in detention death case

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg decided the case of P. v. Poland. The applicant was a mother whose daughter died while being held in a detention centre pending trial.

29.01.2016more
Surviving Hell. Reports on the human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine

HFHR and the German Russian Exchange (DRA – Deutsch-Russischer Austausch) presented two reports from monitoring of the human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine in 2015 –  “Surviving Hell: Testimonies of Victims on Places of Illegal Detention in Donbas” and “The situation of the civilian population in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk.”

29.01.2016more
Romani origin people, citizens of Romania, refer Poland to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the demolition of their homes in the city of Wrocław

16 persons of the Romani origin, citizens of Romania, refer Poland to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in relation to the demolition of their homes in the encampment (colony) at Paprotna street, effected in July 2015 by the city of Wrocław.

27.01.2016more
Driving test rules discriminate against foreigners

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights urged the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction to amend the rules applying to driving licence examinations for persons who do not speak Polish so that they can be assisted by sworn translators while taking the test part of the exam.

26.01.2016more
Homeless persons’ access to social assistance services

The HFHR has intervened with the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, pointing to the difficulties in accessing social assistance services faced by persons experiencing homelessness.

24.01.2016more
HFHR’s opinion on prosecution service reforms

“The merger of the offices of the Prosecutor General and Minister of Justice, coupled with an extension of ministerial powers to influence the course of individual criminal cases may pose a threat to the fairness of criminal process and human rights and freedoms”, reads the HFHR’s opinion statement on the proposed reform of the prosecution […]

22.01.2016more
Poland should do more to address migration crisis

A draft regulation on the resettlement of foreigners provides that in 2016 Poland will accept not more than 400 refugees from Greece and Italy. The HFHR has prepared comments to the regulation; the organisation underscores that re-settlement of such number of foreigners is a gesture of marginal importance in the solving of the migration crisis […]

21.01.2016more
Halina Bortnowska awarded Honorary Medal of Commissioner for Human Rights for “Services for Human Rights Protection”

Halina Bortnowska, a member of the HFHR Council, theologian and columnist, has been awarded the Honorary Medal of the Commissioner for Human Rights “For Services for Human Rights Protection”. During the award-giving ceremony, the Medal has also been bestowed on Anna Jakubowska, a soldier of “Zośka” Battalion, an elite WW2 Home Army’s unit, who was […]

20.01.2016more
“Right to say goodbye” is legally protected

The family of a deceased prisoner brought a legal action against the prison, complaining about having been prevented from seeing their loved one while he was dying in the prison’s hospital. The Helsinki Foundation has submitted an amicus curiae brief in the proceedings.

15.01.2016more
HFHR: surveillance of journalists meant to circumvent reporter’s privilege

The Helsinki Foundation has presented a position statement on the case involving the surveillance of the reporters who investigated the “wiretapping scandal”.

15.01.2016more
10 NGOs address legislative changes to law enforcement agencies’ powers

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, together with nine other non-governmental organisations, has sent a letter to Sejm deputies responding to the alarming changes to the Police Act and other laws.

13.01.2016more
Psychiatric committal based on out-of-date expert opinion

HFHR complained to the ECtHR about the case involving a man who had been held in a psychiatric hospital pursuant to a court order based on an out-of-date expert opinion.

11.01.2016more
New Assemblies Act – practical guide by HFHR

The new Assemblies Act came into force in mid-October 2015. The new regulations have brought numerous changes to the existing laws. HFHR has developed a short step-by-step guide to the rights and duties of the organisers and participants of public assemblies.

09.01.2016more
Nurses’ and midwives’ whistleblower rights

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Administrator of the Provincial Specialist Hospital in Słupsk, responding to the conduct of the hospital’s management who obliged medical professionals working at the facility to sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement. In the assessment of the HFHR, such a requirement may be an […]

04.01.2016more
HFHR addresses proposed changes to powers of law enforcement agencies

“The draft law that introduces a change to the procedure for secret collection of personal information still fails to implement a judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal”, reads the HFHR’s opinion on proposed amendment to the Police Act.

31.12.2015more
HFHR issues opinion on amendment to Broadcasting Act

According to the Helsinki Foundation, the amendment to the Broadcasting Act recently adopted by the Sejm may lead to even greater politicisation of public media, and – as such – constitutes a threat to the freedom of expression.

31.12.2015more
Whistleblower dismissed from work – HFHR issues amicus curiae brief

A Warsaw court hears the case of a female whistleblower who was laid off after she gave an interview about irregularities at the hospital where she worked. The HFHR has filed an amicus curiae brief in this case. 

25.12.2015more
President urged not to sign new law on Constitutional Tribunal

Late at night on 23 December 2015 the Senate adopted the controversial law amending procedural aspects of the Constitutional Tribunal’s work. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has urged the President not to sign the new act into law and to apply for a constitutional review of the new enactment. Nevertheless, the President signed the […]

25.12.2015more
Svetlana Gannushkina received prize from Foreign Affairs Minister

The HFHR had the pleasure of hosting Svetlana Gannushkina and Laila Rogozina, Russian human rights defenders of the Civic Assistance Committee.

23.12.2015more
HFHR writes to the Ombudsman for Children about homeless girl

Further to media reports on extremely difficult life situation of a 13-year-old girl featured in TV reportage of TVN’s “UWAGA” magazine, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has called on the Ombudsman for Children for intervention.

23.12.2015more
HFHR’s opinion on proposed amendment to Constitutional Tribunal Act

In the evening of 15 December another draft amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act was submitted in the Parliament. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the two previous amendments enacted in 2015 were partially unconstitutional.

18.12.2015more
Ombudsman’s statement on attorney-client privilege

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights addressed the Commissioner for Human Rights with a request to apply to the Constitutional Tribunal for the constitutional review of the law that enables the waiver of the attorney-client privilege enjoyed by advocates and legal advisers.

16.12.2015more
Venice Commission on situation in Poland

“The Venice Commission is indeed following developments in Poland attentively and with concern”, reads the response of the Venice Commission to a letter sent by nine Polish organisations.

16.12.2015more
The end of 15th WATCH DOCS Festival. Human Rights in Film

“Behemoth” and “A Syrian Love Story” have been named the ex aequo winners of the WATCH DOCS prize. The juries singled out the works of Sean McAllister and Zhao Liang because, as they wrote in the justification, both documentarians address important and topical themes in an extraordinary and surprising way.

16.12.2015more
Support publication of “I know and I will tell” – guidebook for journalists and whistleblowers

At the website polakpotrafi.pl, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has launched the collection of funds for the publication of “I know and I will tell”, a guidebook for journalists and whistleblowers, or persons who reveal wrongdoings and abuses in their environment such as a workplace or an office.

16.12.2015more
Letter to Venice Commission on changes to Constitutional Tribunal

In early December, a coalition of nine organisations sent a letter to the Council of Europe’s European Commission for Democracy through Law (“Venice Commission”). The letter noted the recent developments concerning the status and composition of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal.

09.12.2015more
HFHR: ideological boycott is constitutionally protected

The Helsinki Foundation has submitted an amicus curiae brief in proceedings concerning the boycott of a brand of beer.

09.12.2015more
Foreigners: compulsory return decisions should be annulled

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights asked the Head of the Office for Foreigners to declare invalid decisions which obligate foreigners to return to their countries of origin.

09.12.2015more
WATCH DOCS festival to start on Friday

The 15th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film starts on 4 December in Warsaw. The festival is one of the biggest human rights film festivals in the world. The programme of the festival includes more than sixty films from all continents. The screenings will be accompanied by meetings with filmmakers and characters […]

02.12.2015more
HFHR position on media statements of Culture Minister

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued a position statement on the comments given by Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński in “Past Twenty”, a TV programme.

02.12.2015more
Constitutional Tribunal Act – the monitoring of legislative amendments

The Constitutional Tribunal is the primary body guarding the principle of the democratic state under the rule of law.

24.11.2015more
HFHR: Detention at the National Centre in Gostynin after serving a prison sentence found in breach of the Constitution

Placing inmates who served their sentences at the national centre in Gostynin pursuant to the law passed as a follow-up to the case of Mariusz T. is a disproportionate restriction of personal freedom under the Constitution, reads the amicus curiae brief filed by the HFHR to the Constitutional Tribunal.

24.11.2015more
HFHR’s letter concerning attempts to cancel the premiere of a theatre play

HFHR sent a letter to the Chairman of the Lower Silesia Regional Council concerning the attempts to ban a theatre production.

20.11.2015more
Jury of 15th WATCH DOCS selected

The 15the WATCH DOCS IFF is starting in less than three weeks. We already know the composition of the jury panel that will select the winner of the WATCH DOCS award out of the 15 competition films to be screened during this year’s festival. Members of the panel are representatives of both the human rights […]

18.11.2015more
Journalist accused of defamation in interrogative email: case dropped

A Warsaw’s District Court has discontinued the defamation proceedings brought against J.J., the editor-in-chief of kompromatRP.pl web portal. The court held that the accused’s conduct had not been illegal. The HFHR observed the case.

16.11.2015more
Statement on still not appointed constitutional judges

“We would like to express our deep concern about the President of the Republic of Poland suspending the conclusion of the procedure for the appointment of the newly elected judges of the Constitutional Tribunal”, reads a joint statement of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, INPRIS and the Polish Section of the International Commission of […]

14.11.2015more
Infertility Treatment Act needs corrections

“The statutory regulation of the IVF procedure must be reviewed by the Constitutional Tribunal, especially in respect of the prohibition of discrimination in access to health care”, the HFHR points out in a letter to the Human Rights Defender.

13.11.2015more
Meeting with candidates for post of Prosecutor General

The HFHR, INPRIS and the Polish Section of the International Commission of Jurists have the pleasure to invite our readers to the meeting with Irena Laura Łozowicka and Krzysztof Karsznicki, candidates for the post of the Prosecutor General.

10.11.2015more
Persons with disabilities in court proceedings

The Helsinki Foundation has called on the Minister of Justice to introduce facilities appropriate for persons with mental disabilities to legal procedures.

09.11.2015more
Disability scooter owner’s lease terminated due to house rules violation, HFHR issues protest

The HFHR has intervened in the case of a woman with a disability whose residential lease was terminated because she parked her disability scooter inside a building’s staircase.

05.11.2015more
Another hearing in case of restaurant barring guide dog

The Regional Court in Warsaw held a hearing in the case that involves visually impaired persons who were denied access to a Warsaw restaurant. The pair was not let in because they were accompanied by guide dogs. The claimants demand an apology in the press and the payment of a charitable contribution of PLN 50,000. […]

04.11.2015more
HFHR statement on waiver of attorney-client privilege

The Regional Court in Wrocław has waived the attorney-client privilege and admitted testimony from an advocate. This has been yet another instance of a judicial waiver of the privilege that happened in recent months. In early September, the Warsaw Regional Court made a similar ruling against Jacek Kondracki, the counsel for journalists of the Wprost […]

02.11.2015more
HFHR lawyer ranks first in Rising Stars – Leaders of Tomorrow competition

We are happy to announce that Ms Katarzyna Wiśniewska, an advocate working with the HFHR was named the winner of Rising Stars – Leaders of Tomorrow, the contest for young lawyers organised by Wolters Kluwer and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. The jury panel recognised Ms Wiśniewska’s commitment, determination and empathy for the people turning to the […]

30.10.2015more
Victims with disabilities discriminated against in criminal procedure

M.P. claimed he had been raped by his therapist. The accused therapist has been acquitted, mainly because the courts decided that M.P.’s testimony was not credible due to the state of the man’s mental health. M.P. has made an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing a violation of his right to a […]

28.10.2015more
Million zloty in damages awarded for undoubtedly illegitimate detention

Aleksander Broda was appointed the Chief Historic Preservation Officer in 1999. In 2001 he was arrested and spent about a year in custody. Prosecutors alleged that he had taken a bribe in return for granting an illegal co-payment for the renovation of the historic granary located in the town of Borowno. The criminal investigation in […]

26.10.2015more
Dismissal of pregnant religious education teacher: judgment

The District Court for Kraków’s Nowa Huta entered the judgment in the case of Sylwia Zawlocka, the religious education teacher dismissed from work during pregnancy. The court dismissed Ms Zawlocka’s action, holding that the school where she worked could lawfully terminate her employment contract.

21.10.2015more
Another Polish case of immigrant detention lands before ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Polish Government another case of the placement of a foreign national in a guarded centre (Bistieva v. Poland, no. 75157/14).

19.10.2015more
HFHR on conscience clause

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a statement to the Minister of Health, responding to the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment on the doctor’s conscience clause.

16.10.2015more
Landmark decision on legal incapacitation: reasons issued

The HFHR has received the statement of reasons of the order of the Court of Appeal in Katowice, in which the Court dismissed a prosecutor’s motion for legal incapacitation based on the international standards of protection of rights of persons with an intellectual or mental disability. The HFHR was a participant in these proceedings.

15.10.2015more
ECtHR on criminal liability for journalistic defamation of judges

Last week, the ECtHR issued two statements regarding criminal liability for journalistic defamation. However, the Court came to different conclusions in each case. In the first judgment, Maciejewski v. Poland, the ECtHR ruled that a violation of the freedom of speech had taken place. Judges of the Strasbourg Court stressed that the journalist had accurately […]

14.10.2015more
Human Rights Defender launches constitutional review of administrative eviction

The Human Rights Defender has applied to the Constitutional Tribunal for the constitutional review of the provision that allows eviction of tenants into the street. In February 2015, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights urged the HRD to consider the submission of such an application.

12.10.2015more
Police beating case closed before ECtHR

The proceedings before ECtHR concerning the case of two men beaten by police officers have now been closed. The government filed a unilateral declaration statement wherein the government admitted that the applicants’ rights under Article 3 of the European Convention, that is prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, had been violated. In […]

09.10.2015more
Penalty for offence to religious feelings admissible, says Constitutional Tribunal

Poland’s constitutional court heard a complaint of a singer who, when asked in an interview about her attitude towards the Bible, said “it is hard to believe in something written by people who got wasted from drinking wine and smoking some herbs”. The singer was fined for these words. She brought the complaint to the […]

08.10.2015more
HFHR’s statement regarding the Polish President’s veto against the Sex Reassignment Act

Following the Polish President’s decline to sign the Sex Reassignment Act, the HFHR has issued its statement on that matter, and the justification of the Presidential decision which also raised HFHR’s doubts. In its statement, HFHR emphasised that the sex recognition procedure implemented by the bill and the effects of the procedure set out therein […]

08.10.2015more
HFHR awarded the Ikar Prize

Związek Nauczycielstwa Polskiego (ZNP), a national professional organisation of teachers, awarded the Ikar Prize to HFHR. “This award is presented in recognition of the special role of HFHR, so full of professionalism and dedication, to promote education for peace and tolerance, a role that is an inspiration for the young generation”, reads the recommendation.

01.10.2015more
Conclusion of the Roma Project

HFHR in collaboration with the Italian-based ISMU Foundation, the Italian and Roma association Upre Roma, and the French NGO Association Rues et Cités, completed a project which aimed at social activation of the Roma people.

29.09.2015more
HFHR’s one-semester placement programme

Law students are welcome to apply for a one-semester unpaid internship at the legal department of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights or the “Human Rights and Taxes” Law Clinic, an educational and intervention programme operated by the HFHR.

28.09.2015more
Enforcement of ECtHR judgements: Poland is lagging behind

At the end of September, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution listing Poland as one of the countries that have the biggest problems implementing judgements of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Poland was listed along with Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, among others.

25.09.2015more
HFHR on Marcin D.’s detention

The Regional Court in Kraków has dismissed Marcin D.’s attorney complaint against pre-trial detention order issued against his client. Following D.’s arrest in late August, a court ordered his conditional pre-trial detention, setting financial surety as the alternative remand measure. Despite the surety having been paid, Marcin D. still remains in detention. According to the […]

22.09.2015more
Myths surrounding refugee quotas, or resettlement and relocation

“Recently, we have been observing untrue information on the European Commission’s so-called refugee quotas, i.e. the number of foreigners who are to be resettled and relocated to Poland, that appears in public debate”, says Maja Łysienia, HFHR lawyer. “We have decided to address some of this information by explaining the underlying law and presenting statistical […]

21.09.2015more
Supreme Court dismissed complaint in Sikh’s case

Airport security checks involve certain inconveniences and result in the infringement of one’s personal interests, ruled the Supreme Court, dismissing the cassation complaint in the Shaminder Puri case. The proceedings, which have been pending since 2010, involve the infringement of personal interests of Mr Puri, a member of the Sikh religious community. During security checks […]

18.09.2015more
ECtHR: body search allowed only in justified cases

The European Court of Human Rights has pronounced the judgment in the case of Milka v. Poland, finding that unreasonable body searches of an inmate had constituted a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

18.09.2015more
Professor Irena Rzeplińska awarded with Order of Polonia Restituta

President of the Republic of Poland decorated Irena Rzeplińska, a Professor at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and a founder and supervisor of the HFHR’s Programme of Legal Assistance for Refugees and Migrants, with the Order of Polonia Restituta (Officer’s Cross).

17.09.2015more
Szczytno District Court hears CIA secret prison case

On 14 September, the District Court of Szczytno conducted a hearing in the case of Mustafa al Hawsawi, who was allegedly held in a CIA secret detention facility in Poland. The court’s decision is to be handed down on 28 September 2015.

17.09.2015more
Legal incapacitation order amended, international human rights standards must be observed, judges say

The Court of Appeal of Katowice has amended a total incapacitation order issued against a person and dismissed a prosecutor’s motion for his incapacitation. The Court emphasised that in cases involving legal incapacitation, courts should take into account the standards enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the Convention on the Rights of […]

14.09.2015more
FUTURE DOCS kicks off!

FUTURE DOCS is a new European project of the WATCH DOCS festival, a platform of creative meetings for inspiration-hungry documentary filmmakers and human rights activists with a first-hand knowledge of both human rights problems and initiatives, and fascinating human background stories.

28.08.2015more
Child’s right to be heard in family cases

“Direct contact between a court and a child is necessary for the full recognition of a minor’s subjectivity and obtaining of insight into their individual perspective”, emphasises the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in an amicus curiae brief on a child’s right to be heard in a foster care civil case.

27.08.2015more
Is math exam for disabled students unconstitutional?

The HFHR has asked the Human Rights Defender to consider requesting the constitutional review of the requirement regarding the obligation to take the mathematics part of the matura, secondary school leaving examination, imposed on students with disabilities.

27.08.2015more
Lawsuit for return of property confiscated in Communist age Meat Scandal

An heir of the entrepreneur sentenced to death in the 1960s “Meat Scandal”, an infamous economic scandal of the Communist-era Poland, has sued the State Treasury demanding return of the judicially confiscated real and movable property then owned by the defendant and his family.

25.08.2015more
HRD may ask for constitutional review of long-term care committals

The Human Rights Defender will consider asking the Constitutional Tribunal to perform constitutional review of laws governing the placement of legally incapacitated individuals at nursing homes, suggests the response to an HFHR’s inquiry. “This is an important declaration”, says Marcin Szwed, a lawyer working for the Helsinki Foundation. “Polish law is yet to be adjusted […]

25.08.2015more
Important ECHR judgments in Polish cases

On Tuesday, 14 June 2011, the European Court of Human Rights delivered three judgments in cases in which Poland was a party. Each of the judgments found Poland in violation of regulations of the European Convention on Human Rights. HFHR experts have commented on these judgments.

20.08.2015more
Another Azerbaijani human rights activists convicted

A Criminal Court of Baku has sentenced Leyla and Arif Yunus, Azerbaijani human rights defenders, to 8.5 and 7 years in prison, respectively. They have been accused of illegal business activities, tax evasion and fraud.

14.08.2015more
Rasim Aliyev dies

We are deeply saddened by the death of the Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, who passed away on 9 August in a hospital in Baku after receiving a savage beating the day before.

10.08.2015more
Senate confirmed the appointment of Dr Adam Bodnar to the position of Human Rights Defender

Senate confirmed the appointment by the Sejm of Dr Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President, to the position of the Human Rights Defender.

07.08.2015more
Statement on the liquidation of the Roma camp in Wrocław

HFHR contacted the Poviat Construction Inspectorate for the city of Wrocław with regard to the liquidation of the Roma camp at ul. Paprotna in Wrocław. The Foundation expressed its concern about the incident and asked for explanations on circumstances of the case.

05.08.2015more
Draft law on changes in special services and the Police incompatible with the EU law

The Sejm commenced works on the Senate draft law implementing the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from the previous year. The Tribunal found that lack of external control over the acquisition of billings, etc. by the special services violates the Constitution. “There is a lot to indicate that the draft law on changes in legal […]

05.08.2015more
Ministry of Health responds to use of medical marijuana

Igor Radziewicz-Winnicki, Under-secretary at the Ministry of Health, wrote a letter to the HFHR regarding the legal options of using marijuana for medical purposes. The letter responds to the proposals presented in the HFHR’s critical study “Medical marijuana: waiting for legislators’ response”.

31.07.2015more
HFHR’s statement on events at hospital in Starogard Gdański

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has asked the Regional Prosecutor in Gdańsk to closely monitor the local prosecutor office’s probe into the cases of abuse and degrading treatment of patients of the Hospital for the Mentally and Physically Ill in Starogard Gdański. In its letter sent to the Prosecutor, the HFHR has expressed concern […]

31.07.2015more
Sex reassignment law passed in Parliament

The Sejm adopted the Sex Reassignment Act. The key purpose of the new law is to speed up legal procedures governing sex reassignment. Interested persons will no longer need to bring a court action against their own parents, as sex reassignment cases will now be heard in a non-litigious mode by the Regional Court in […]

24.07.2015more
Supreme Court: severe criticism of sales of Nazi symbols allowed

Supreme Court has dismissed a complaint in cassation brought by Allegro Group’s lawyers. The Court ruled that by adding Nazi SS bolts to the logotype of Allegro, an auction website, the Green Light Foundation and J.M. had expressed lawful criticism of the portal. The case concerns the social campaign “No more Nazism on Allegro”, which […]

23.07.2015more
ECtHR: failure to enact laws on same-sex partnerships violates the Convention

The Strasbourg Court has heard an application brought by three Italian homosexual couples. The applicants alleged having been discriminated against on the ground of sexual orientation by Italian law which did not allow them to enter into a marriage or civil partnership. The Court ruled in their favour.

22.07.2015more
Report: stateless children in legal grey zone

Poland lacks a systemic approach to the problem of statelessness, particularly in the relation to children, reads the latest report of the HFHR. Poland is one of the last EU Member States that have not ratified the UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954 and the Convention on the Reduction of […]

20.07.2015more
Senate starts working on implementation of Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment on special services

In 2014, the Constitutional Tribunal held that the laws that authorise special services to obtain records from telecommunication providers were unconstitutional. The regulations will lose their force in February 2016. The Senate is now working on amendments to the soon-to-be-abolished provisions and the implementation of the Tribunal’s judgment. The HFHR has presented an opinion statement […]

20.07.2015more
Same-sex parents birth registration refusal case brought before ECtHR

Two women (a Polish and UK national) and their child have submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, bringing a case against Poland after Poland’s authorities had refused to issue a Polish birth certificate for their child. The applicants are represented by Dr Dorota Pudzianowska, HFHR, and Dr Joanna Miłkowska-Rębowska, […]

18.07.2015more
HFHR’s intervention regarding anti-Muslim incident in Warsaw mosque

The HFHR asked the District Prosecutor for Warszawa-Ochota to take a closer look at the incident which took place in the Warsaw Centre of Muslim Culture. Unknown perpetrators threw pig heads on the Centre and the mosque located on the Centre’s premises. The HFHR urged the Prosecutor to take actions to unravel the facts of […]

17.07.2015more
Supreme Court’s ruling on right to enter into lease of late gay partner

The District Court for Warszawa-Mokotów decided that XY had entered into a lease of a late gay partner. The court had no doubts that the grounds for entering into a lease might also apply to persons having same-sex relationships. The Foundation was involved in the case from the very beginning.

17.07.2015more
HFHR’s intervention concerning discrepancies in speed measurement

Krzysztof Hołowczyc was stopped for driving 114 km/h over the speed limit outside a built-up area. The driver refused to take a ticket.

17.07.2015more
HFHR comments on killing of journalist from local news portal

The HFHR has issued a statement on the killing of Łukasz Masiak, journalist of Naszamlawa.pl news portal. The Foundation called for an effective investigation into the reporter’s death, which would explain all circumstances surrounding the crime. In its statement, the HFHR emphasised that the key issue is to determine whether the killing was related to […]

16.07.2015more
New traffic laws may lead to double jeopardy

A violation of the double jeopardy principle is the gravest objection the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has raised regarding new road traffic laws that enable law enforcement officers to confiscate driving licenses of drivers who exceed the speed limit in built-up areas by 50 kilometres or more.  Responding to the new regulations, the HFHR […]

16.07.2015more
Fourth edition of “Human Rights and Taxes” law clinic ends

The fourth edition of an intervention and education programme operated by the HFHR, the law clinic “Human Rights and Taxes”, has ended. During the academic year, 11 law students have attended the clinic’s weekly seminars held at the Foundation’s headquarters. Students participating in the classes had an opportunity to review the individual tax law cases […]

10.07.2015more
Poland has not yet enforced ECtHR judgment on nursing home placements

In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in the case of Kędzior v. Poland. The matter concerned the involuntary placement of an incapacitated person at a nursing home. The ECtHR ruled that this was a violation of the Convention. Despite the passage of three years, the judgement has not yet been […]

09.07.2015more
Senate to work on HFHR petition

The Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions Committee of the Senate has examined a petition submitted by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. The Committee has decided to continue working on the proposals presented in the petition, which addresses the practice of using temporary accommodation.

08.07.2015more
HFHR on tragic death of Dominik from Bieżuń

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Regional Prosecutor in Płock, addressing the tragic death of Dominik, a teenager from Bieżuń. According to media reports, the scornful and degrading peers’ response to Dominik’s appearance, and in particular his outfits and hair style, was a factor that contributed to the boy’s […]

07.07.2015more
ECtHR: Poland yet to solve problem of excessively lengthy proceedings

The European Court of Human Rights has entered a pilot judgment in the joined cases of Rutkowski and Others v. Poland. The Court has decided that the excessive length of the proceedings and the application of respective complaint procedure, which fail short of Convention standards, are a systemic problem in Poland. The cases resolved by […]

07.07.2015more
Audit authority’s reports on outsourcing practices of public broadcaster

The Supreme Audit Office has published a report on external production practices at Telewizja Polska S.A. (TVP), Polish public TV broadcaster. The audit covered also TVP’s restructuring plan, based on the so-called workforce outsourcing.

03.07.2015more
Adversarial process – what lies beneath? Polish criminal process after reform

Wednesday, 1 July, is the effective date of an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure which significantly re-shaped Polish criminal process. The amendment makes criminal proceedings more adversarial, which means that judges will no longer have the leading role in evidence taking; instead, they will assume the position of an umpire, leaving the presentation […]

01.07.2015more
ECtHR: teenager’s detention in shelter violated Convention

Maksimilian Grabowski, aged seventeen, was arrested by the police on the charge of robbery. A court started proceedings in his case and placed him at a youth shelter. In consequence of that, Mr Grabowski spent in the shelter five months more than he was supposed to, and the lawfulness of his detention has never been […]

01.07.2015more
Report: rights of citizens returning to their country of origin

No access of citizens and their lawyers to case files, placing foreign children in guarded centres and sending Syrians back to Greece are the key problems accompanying the return procedure.

29.06.2015more
HFHR statement on cancellation of “Golgotha Picnic” performance

The HFHR has issued a statement on the cancellation of the “Golgotha Picnic” performance at Malta Festival Poznań and in other cities. It has been noted that artistic activity is an integral part of the freedom of expression, which also encompasses statements and works that may offend, shock or alarm some people. “Broader boundaries of […]

27.06.2015more
On freedom’s side. 25 years of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, we would like to invite you to read our jubilee publication, “On freedom’s side”.

25.06.2015more
HFHR opinion on pre-trial detention of Maciej D., Legia supporter

Maciej D. is indicted for purchasing, together with other persons, substantial amounts of marijuana. On this ground, he has been detained pending trial since May 2012. The HFHR has presented an opinion in this case in which it argues that this length of detention may violate Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

24.06.2015more
25th Anniversary of HFHR – acknowledgements

“For us, the 25th Anniversary of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was the time of meetings, reflection and a summary of our work done so far. I am truly grateful for the help we have received from all the sponsors, staff members and associates of the Foundation who were involved in the organisation of […]

22.06.2015more
Oświadczenie Komitetu Helsińskiego w Polsce ws. nowej ustawy o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym EN

“We are concerned at the changes made to the new Constitutional Tribunal Act that lower eligibility requirements for prospective candidates for the Tribunal’s judges”, reads a statement issued by the Helsinki Committee in Poland. In the statement, the members of the Committee underscore that the Constitutional Tribunal is a foundation of the system which protects […]

11.06.2015more
Opinia HFPC ws. nowelizacji Prawa łowieckiego EN

The Sejm continues to work on amendment to the Hunting Law Act. The proposal currently in works has raised a number of controversies, such as the rule that applicants requesting to have their properties designated a hunting-free zone would be required to prove the existence of a personal worldview justifying the request. Despite the concerns, […]

10.06.2015more
Poland should accept refugees

The position of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights regarding the proposal of the European Commission on migrant quotas.

28.05.2015more
Medical marijuana: waiting for legislators’ response

As part of the “Analysis and Recommendations” series HFHR lawyers have drafted another report, entitled “Medical marijuana: waiting for legislators’ response”.

26.05.2015more
Ethics in business?

Kompania Piwowarska, Kulczyk Investments, PKN Orlen, Totalizator Sportowy and Tauron Polska Energia are sponsors of the Polish Olympic team going to the European Championships in Baku. All these organisations declare their commitment to responsible business and maintaining high ethical standards in business based on the respect for human rights and transparency. Despite this, as we […]

21.05.2015more
HFHR’s Opinion on Editorial Independence in Public Media

Editorial independence is an important condition for exercising the right to freedom of expression, which enables the media to perform the role of the “public watchdog” in a democratic society. This principle allows journalists to avoid political and financial pressures and simply do their job. The guarantees of editorial independence are especially important for the […]

21.05.2015more
Application of preventive measure under amended Code of Criminal Procedure

An amendment to the Criminal Code, which is to introduce controversial changes in the application of the so-called “protective measures”, is due to enter into force in early July. The new law has been sharply criticised already at the stage of legislative works. After its enactment, the HFHR called on President of the Republic of […]

16.05.2015more
On respect for ownership in Azerbaijan

Over the last years the standards of human rights protection in Azerbaijan fell considerably. This is manifested not only by limitations of “classic” political rights but also in arbitrary violations of ownership. As part of the “Analysis and Recommendations” series the HFHR has published an opinion statement concerning the issue of respect for the ownership […]

13.05.2015more
Unilateral declarations before ECtHR Grand Chamber

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear the case Jeronovics v. Latvia (application no. 547/02). The case concerns the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment (Convention Article 3) and the right to have one’s case heard in a reasonable time (Convention Article 6).

11.05.2015more
FRA report: justice must be more children-friendly

According to a recent report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, justice system bodies need to be more sensitive to needs of children participating in justice proceedings. The report was based on the outcomes of fieldwork research conducted in ten Member States. As part of the project, the HFHR has prepared a country report.

07.05.2015more
Forced returns monitoring: no observers allowed?

Following the intervention of the HFHR, the Border Guard has started to notify non-governmental organisations of forced returns of foreigners unaccompanied by Border Guard officers. The agency also undertook to make notice of cases of foreigners returned to land border crossings.

04.05.2015more
HFHR’s statement after events in Knurów

The HFHR is concerned about the events that – according to media reports – took place on 2 May in Knurów during the football match between the teams of Concordia Knurów and Ruch Radzionków.

04.05.2015more
Minister of Health’s answer regarding pain treatment

“The patient has the right to effective pain relief measures and under art. 4 of the Doctor and Dentist Professions Act of 5 December 1996 (…), a doctor is obliged to perform his/her profession in accordance with the current state of medical knowledge, with all available methods and measures for preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases […]

27.04.2015more
Limit values for psychoactive substances are still undefined

The amended Drug Abuse Prevention Act has introduced art. 62a. It enables the prosecution service and courts to discontinue criminal proceedings against perpetrators in possession of small amounts of intoxicants or psychoactive drugs for their personal use. “The problem is how to interpret these ‘small amounts’”, says Piotr Kubaszewski, an HFHR lawyer.

26.04.2015more
Azerbaijani human rights defender sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison

The Regional Court in Baku has sentenced Intigam Aliyev to seven-and-a-half years in prison. The Court found the lawyer guilty of tax evasion, abuse of power, using his position for personal gains and an illegal business activity.

22.04.2015more
Lawsuits claim discrimination against blind persons assisted by dogs

Three persons with visual dysfunctions who are assisted by guide dogs in their daily activities have decided to bring a legal action against owners of a restaurant and a transport company, the businesses that denied them access to provided services. In their suit, the claimants seek from the owners apologies in press, a charitable contribution […]

17.04.2015more
Rasul Jafarov sentenced to six years and six months in prison

Azerbaijani human rights defender Rasul Jafarov has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. Mr Jafarov was also banned from holding a public office for a three-year term. He was accused of illegal business activities, tax evasion and abuse of power.

16.04.2015more
Can a judge be removed from office? Hungarian judge before ECtHR Grand Chamber

The ECtHR Grand Chamber will consider the appeal of the Hungarian Government in the case of Andras Baka, who has been dismissed from the office of the President of Supreme Court due to constitutional amendments. The HFHR has prepared an amicus curiae opinion in the case.

09.04.2015more
Long way ahead for new Assemblies Act

In October some of the key provisions of the Assemblies Act will lose their legal force. However, the Ministry of Administration and Digitisation prepared a new draft law on the issue only at the end of March. It needs though to go through the entire legislative path including the Government, the Sejm and the Senate. […]

09.04.2015more
ISA does not use tools to remotely control computers and phones

Responding to a query from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Internal Security Agency has said it did not use the Remote Control System software. The Foundation also asked the Central Anti-corruption Bureau the same question.

04.04.2015more
New HFHR publication: “Artistic freedom – practical guide”

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued the publication “Artistic freedom – practical guide” by Dominika Bychawskia-Siniarska and Dorota Głowacka. Artists and other persons in the cultural sphere can read there how to handle various forms of contemporary art “censorship”.

01.04.2015more
HFHR comments on retreat in Gryfice

In recent days, more than 1000 students of state schools in Gryfice went on a retreat. The media reported that the event unfolded in a very unusual way as the participating children fainted, burst into tears and lost control over their behaviour.

30.03.2015more
Foreigner awarded compensation for her placement at guarded centre

The Regional Court in Radom has awarded compensation to an Iranian refugee for her wrongful and unjustified placement at a guarded centre for foreigners. “We’re very pleased with this decision. Courts very rarely render rulings in cases involving the placement of foreigners at centres for foreigners”, says Jacek Białas, the HFHR’s lawyer and counsel for […]

20.03.2015more
Diocese and parish vs. victim of paedophile priest: case settled

Marcin K., who was the first person in Poland to bring an action for protection of personal interests on the grounds of sexual abuse by a clergyman, has entered into a settlement with the Diocese of Koszalin-Kołobrzeg and St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Parish. Under the settlement, K. has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the […]

20.03.2015more
HFHR statement on setting borderline values for psychoactive substances

The HFHR reminds the Prosecutor General of a need to determine appropriate borderline values for individual psychoactive substances and hence define the notion of “negligible amounts”.

19.03.2015more
Mandatory placement at nursing homes is unconstitutional

Under the applicable law, the procedure for placing legally incapacitated persons at state-operated nursing homes is contrary to the Polish Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the HFHR argues. The Helsinki Foundation called on the Human Rights Defender to initiate the constitutional review of the relevant provisions of law.

19.03.2015more
Forced returns – monitoring still ineffective

Despite being legally obliged to do so, the Border Guard still fails to inform authorised non-governmental organisations of all completed forced return procedures. The NGOs are only notified of selected flights, which significantly limits their ability to fully monitor these proceedings.

18.03.2015more
Always-precise fiscal confidentiality privilege

The Supreme Administrative Court admitted a complaint in cassation filed by the HFHR against the refusal to disclose the document entitled “Responsibilities of Tax Audit Offices for 2013”.

18.03.2015more
EU visa ban in Magnitsky’s case – finally?

Sergei Magnitsky, Russian anti-corruption lawyer, died in a Moscow detention centre on 19 November 2009. Before he was arrested, Mr Magnitsky worked for Hermitage Capital, an international investment fund. The company was conflicted with Russian authorities as it defended the interests of minority shareholders of the country’s leading corporations such as Gazprom oil and gas […]

18.03.2015more
President signed Istanbul Convention

Last weekend, President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski signed into law the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women. “I think that the Convention should not be a victim of the election schedule. The Convention should be dealt with in the way that serves best the interest of the State, and the President’s actions in […]

16.03.2015more
First punish, then treat?

An amendment to the Criminal Code has been presented for the President’s signature. The law introduces, among other things, a possibility to impose involuntary treatment of persons who served their criminal sentences. The measures laid down in the amendment have raised major concerns regarding their constitutionality. The HFHR has called the President to launch a […]

06.03.2015more
Prisoners working on motorway construction – further developments

In January, the HFHR addressed the Ministry of Justice in relation to a news article on “lending out” prisoners as workforce at the construction site of a junction of A2 motorway.

02.03.2015more
Will Minister of Justice be able to access court files?

An amendment to the Courts Act has been presented for the President’s signature. The law introduces provisions that enable the Minister of Justice to process and use personal and sensitive data recorded in court files. The new regulation has been challenged, among others, by judges and the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data.. […]

27.02.2015more
Are exam conditions adjusted to needs of students with disabilities?

The HFHR has filed a public information request to the Head of the National Examination Board, inquiring about the implementation of laws that require the adjustment of conditions and forms of educational tests and exams to the needs of students with disabilities. The Foundation’s request was prompted by a complaint alleging an improper implementation of […]

27.02.2015more
HFHR revisits issue of pain management, approaches Ministry of Health

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent another letter to the Minister of Health, calling for improving access to effective pain management solutions at health care institutions. Poland is one of the countries of the lowest opioid drug use. Moreover, the country has yet to adopt a quality control system of pain management.

26.02.2015more
HFHR calls on Human Rights Defender regarding ratification of human rights conventions

Last year, the Human Rights Defender issued the publication entitled “The Polish Map of the International Conventions of Human Rights”, which presented an overview of the domestic ratification process in respect of the key conventions for human rights protection. The Map showed that Poland failed to ratify every other international human rights treaty. The not […]

26.02.2015more
Court: Complaint against minor’s psychiatric committal granted

The Regional Court in Warsaw reversed an interim psychiatric committal order issued against a minor who was to be placed at a high security psychiatric ward. The Court also ordered that the minor be released from the facility.

26.02.2015more
ECtHR rejected Poland’s appeal in CIA prisoners’ case

ECtHR informed that it rejected the appeal against the judgment of July 2014. The ruling, issued in the case brought by the CIA prisoners, al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, against Poland pointed to a number of Convention rights violations, including that of the prohibition of torture, the right to a fair trial or the right to […]

18.02.2015more
Helsinki Foundation reminds of professional media standards

The HFHR issued a statement to express its concern about recent publications of the Wprost weekly magazine. The statement emphasises how significant it is for journalists to comply with the professional standards that govern the collection and dissemination of information.

18.02.2015more
CAB had right to deny information on RCS software

The Provincial Administrative Court has dismissed the HFHR’s complaint against a decision of the Head of the Central Anti-corruption Bureau. The CAB denied the Foundation access to information on whether or not the agency uses the Remote Control System (RCS) software.

13.02.2015more
What were tax authorities said to do in 2011?

The Minister of Finance complied with a judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw and disclosed to the HFHR the document entitled “Responsibilities of Tax Audit Offices for 2011”. The disclosure concludes one of the two Foundation’s legal disputes with the Finance Ministry.

12.02.2015more
MoI: refugee applications of Ukrainians are thoroughly reviewed

“Due to a complicated and difficult situation in Ukraine refugee applications made by Ukrainian citizens are subject to a very thorough review on a case-by-case basis”, stated the MoI in response to the HFHR’s letter concerning the situation of Ukrainian refugees.

12.02.2015more
Foreigners in Poland – new HFHR publication

As part of the project “Foreigners rights – human rights. Training in migration law” the HFHR issued a publication “Foreigners in Poland. A textbook for public officials”, which outlines in a clear and accessible manner all means of legalising foreigners’ stay in Poland.

12.02.2015more
No Strasbourg ruling for gang rape victim

The European Court of Human Rights has accepted a unilateral declaration of the Polish Government and decided to strike the case of the minor victim of a gang rape committed by three then-underage pupils of her middle school. At the time of the incident, the woman was not yet 15 years of age.

11.02.2015more
Istanbul Convention ratified

Two years after Poland’s signing the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, the Sejm enacted a law ratifying this international instrument. Before the vote, a heated discussion took place in a parliamentary committee. Some deputies thought that when ratified, the Convention could pose a threat to Polish tradition and culture.

09.02.2015more
Opinion on investigation of J. Zientara case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is concerned by the latest news reports on the criminal inquiry into the disappearance and murder of the press reporter Jarosław Ziętara.

28.01.2015more
Statement of coalition monitoring national DPA elections

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Panoptykon Foundation and the Institute for Law and Society INPRIS would like to express their concerns regarding the course of elections of the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data (IGPPD), Poland’s national data protection authority.

27.01.2015more
HFHR on prisoners employed on motorway construction

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has contacted the Minister of Justice, seeking explanations in relation to an article printed in the latest edition of Newsweek. The piece presents the story of prisoners who have been “leased” from penitentiary facilities to work on a junction of A2 motorway.

27.01.2015more
Launch of trials of Azerbaijani political prisoners

Trials of Azerbaijani human rights activists have been launched last week in Azerbaijan. Rasul Jafarov and Intigam Aliyev were detained in the summer of 2014. Their politically-motivated arrest was a part of the system of repression that had been long used by the regime of Ilham Aliyev against the Azerbaijani civil society.

15.01.2015more
Final acquittal for Przemysław S.

The Court of Appeal in Gdańsk has just ruled in the case of Przemysław S. accused of participation in beating a man to death. S. was acquitted on all counts by a final judgment. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has filed a written statement of a community representative in this case.

08.01.2015more
HFHR statement concerning Charlie Hebdo attack

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights would like to express its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices. This act of terror resulted in the death of several employees of the magazine, including the editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier, and cartoonists known as “Cabu”, “Tignous” and […]

08.01.2015more
Commendations awarded to the HFHR

In December 2014, during the closing ceremony of Złote Wachlarze (Golden Fans), the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights received a special commendation for all activities related to the protection of the rights of migrants.

19.12.2014more
Refugee rights still threatened in Poland

Foreigners who apply for the refugee status encounter multiple obstacles on every stage of the proceedings as well as afterwards, according to the HFHR report “Seeking asylum. Selected problems concerning the exercise of rights of the foreigners who applied for the refugee status or were granted international protection in the years 2012-2014. The observations of […]

12.12.2014more
Council of Europe Convention on domestic violence held constitutional in Poland

“The Istanbul Convention conforms to the Polish Constitution and its ratification is reasonable for the purposes of the effective prevention and combating violence against woman and domestic violence”, reads an opinion of the HFHR on the admissibility of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic […]

08.12.2014more
Independent Azerbaijani journalist arrested

Khadija Ismayilova, an independent investigative journalist, was arrested today in Azerbaijan. Ms Ismayilova worked for a number of news outlets, including the independent channel Maydan TV and Radio Free Europe (Radio Azadliq). In 2008-2010 she was the editor-in-chief of the latter news organisation. In her reporting she covered cases of corruption and abuse of power […]

05.12.2014more
14th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film is under way

The 14th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film kicked off on Saturday 5 December. For 14 years this major worldwide human rights film festival has been committed to promoting ambitious, social documentaries among Polish viewers.

04.12.2014more
Lawsuit of former head of Teatr Ósmego Dnia

Ewa Wójciak, who in July this year was dismissed from the post of the head of Teatr Ósmego Dnia in Poznań, has filed a suit against her former employer. The plaintiff seeks PLN 30,000 in damages for the infringement of the principle of equal treatment in employment.

29.11.2014more
Excessive red tape prevents refuges from reuniting with their family

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and the Red Cross EU Office have released a report “Disrupted Flight – The Realities of Separated Refugee Families in the EU”. The report reviews domestic practices in 12 EU Member States in relation to family reunification revealing that beneficiaries of international protection in the UE often […]

28.11.2014more
Invitation to “Artistic freedom in practice” workshops held in Lublin and Poznań

We invite our readers to take part in the workshops “Artistic freedom in practice”. The workshops aim to identify the main legal threats to artistic freedom in Poland and discuss various means of safeguarding it from restrictions.

21.11.2014more
HFHR statement regarding arrest of journalists in head office of State Electoral Commission

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights wants to voice its objection to the incident of arresting journalists and photographers of the Polish Press Agency, including Tomasz Gzell.

21.11.2014more
Protest in front of Azerbaijani Embassy

17 November marks a national holiday in Azerbaijan – the National Revival Day. On that day in 1988 hundreds of people gathered at the Azadliq (Freedom) Square in Baku. It was the first mass Azerbaijani protest against the central USSR government’s policy towards the then Soviet Republic. The demonstrations lasted for three weeks until the […]

14.11.2014more
Volunteer for 14th IFF WATCH DOCS

The International Film Festival WATCH DOCS Human Rights in Film kicks off for the 14th time. As always, we rely on the help of volunteers to make the festival happen. This year’s edition takes place between 5 and 14 December. If you want to become a volunteer, please, contact us by e-mail at wolontariusze-festiwal@watchdocs.pl until […]

04.11.2014more
HFHR comments on Poland’s appeal against ECtHR judgment on CIA black sites

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed its concern about the Polish Government’s request submitted to the European Court of Human Rights for referring the case of Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah v. Poland for the examination by the Grand Chamber. A panel of five judges will decide whether or not the case is to […]

24.10.2014more
“Women in Shroud” – special WATCH DOCS screening and meeting with Shadi Sadr

We invite our readers to a special screening of “Women in Shroud” held as part of the WATCH DOCS Film Festival, as well as to a meeting with the protagonist of the film, Shadi Sadr – an Iranian journalist, lawyer and advocate of women rights.

21.10.2014more
100 questions on surveillance for Polish authorities

Did the Polish authorities know about the US “PRISM” programme and did they find violations of the Polish law? Is the Polish prosecution service going to investigate the matter? Who, and on what grounds, decided to turn down Edward Snowden’s asylum application? These are just three out of the 100 questions which Amnesty International Poland, […]

16.10.2014more
Amendment to Assemblies Act to ban face covering?

The main goal of the amendment is to introduce a ban on attending public gatherings for persons who cannot be identified because of their clothing or face-covering apparel. According to the proposed new law, such persons will be allowed to take part in a gathering only if the organiser is able to show a link […]

15.10.2014more
Baku conference on ECtHR

Until the end of November, Azerbaijan will be presiding over the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The end of the country’s CoM leadership will be marked by a conference scheduled to take place in October, in Baku. The event will focus on the European Court of Human Rights and the role played […]

13.10.2014more
ECtHR decision on detention of migrant woman

The European Court of Human Rights has entered the first ruling in a case which involves the placement of a migrant woman in a guarded centre in Poland (Dzhabrailova v. Poland, no. 78244/11, decision of 9 September 2014).

07.10.2014more
Media in Election Time: Guide for journalists

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a brochure entitled “Media in Election Time: A Guide for Journalists”. The publication informs media people how to deal with the legal issues most commonly affecting news organisations in the run-up to elections, for instance during the upcoming local government elections.

06.10.2014more
Farewell to Stefan Starczewski

We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Stefan Starczewski, a member of the Helsinki Committee and its long-standing chair, and lately a member of the Council of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. In 1978-1981 Mr Starczewski was the editor in chief of the independent quarterly Krytyka. In 1980 he joined […]

03.10.2014more
Anar Mammadli otrzymał Nagrodę Rady Europy im. Vaclava Havla EN

Anar Mammadli was the President of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS). The organisation has monitored the last thirteen elections in Azerbaijan. Anar Mammadli had also conducted observations of elections in Turkey, Afghanistan, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Georgia or Albania and other countries. Anar Mammadli has been the coordinator of the task force called […]

29.09.2014more
Wystąpienie w sprawie dostępności bankomatów dla osób niewidzących EN

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFPC) applied to the President of ING Bank Śląski S.A. with regard to the availability of banking services for blind and visually impaired persons. The basis for HFPC’s intervention was a notification from a customer who has entered into a pre-paid card agreement with ING, however he cannot use […]

29.09.2014more
Constitutional Tribunal rules on Assemblies Act

The Constitutional Tribunal has decided on the constitutionality of provisions of the Assemblies Act. The Tribunal held that legislators might not define a public gathering in a way which would narrow the relevant definition set forth in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. The law cannot set a minimum number of participants in a […]

19.09.2014more
ECtHR judgment on parental contact with children still not enforced

In the judgment entered in Z. v. Poland the European Court of Human Rights held that it is the state’s duty to take all necessary steps to ensure the exercise of a person’s right to family life, including the right of parental contact with a child. The ECtHR decided the case four years ago. Since […]

15.09.2014more
Refusal of services for Russians in discriminatory – HFHR’s opinion

The Helsinki Foundation has issued an opinion on a refusal to provide services to Russians. According to the HFHR, such an action taken by a business organisation constitutes a violation of the principle of equal treatment and is prohibited by domestic and international laws.

11.09.2014more
Europe out of range of refugees looking for safety

A report recently published by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), an alliance of non-governmental organisations acting for refugees, revealed the persistent gaps between the theory and realities of a Common European Asylum System. The report reviews the situation of refugees in 15 Member States of the European Union. The section of the […]

10.09.2014more
Applications to European Court of Human Rights in case of “unappointed judges”

The judges who in 2007 did not receive their official appointments to judicial offices lodged applications with the European Court of Human Rights. The applicants are represented by Marcin Ciemiński, an advocate with Clifford Chance.

08.09.2014more
Is it not a shame to play football for Azerbaijani money? HFHR’s letter to Atletico Madrid

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the management of Atletico Madrid in which it has raised the issue of the club’s funding by the Azerbaijani authorities. In the HFHR’s opinion Atletico Madrid players contribute to the promotion of President Ilham Aliyev’s regime by appearing in shirts with the slogan “Azerbaijan. […]

20.08.2014more
HFHR’s comments on new proposals of video surveillance regulation

The HFHR has presented the second opinion on the new draft legislative guidelines for the law on video surveillance put forward by the Ministry of Interior. As compared with the original draft of December 2013, the current version contains several changes enhancing protection against the excessive use of cameras which may interfere with the right […]

20.08.2014more
Case of blogger from Mosina goes to ECtHR

After over five years in Polish courts, in August 2014 the case of Łukasz Kasprowicz, a blogger from Mosina, a town located near Poznań, western Poland, was brought to the European Court of Human Rights.

18.08.2014more
New arrests of Azerbaijani human rights defenders

Last week Intigam Aliyev, a well-known Azerbaijani lawyer and human rights defender, was arrested.

08.08.2014more
New publication of HFHR: Virtual Media – Real Problems

A book entitled Virtual Media – Real Problems has come out. It is edited by two lawyers with the HFHR Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland, Dominika Bychawska Siniarska and Dorota Głowacka. The publication is a compilation of articles in which lawyers and journalists describe problems with the application of law in the […]

01.08.2014more
Foreign families reunited or disunited?

Since 2003, immigration laws have been applicable that at the UE level govern the right of third country citizens to family reunification. Nevertheless, the procedure is riddled with a whole range of practical problems. Individual EU Member States differ in their interpretation and application of laws based on directives. Currently, the European Commission is carrying […]

25.07.2014more
ECtHR judgments in Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah v. Poland

The European Court of Human Rights has entered judgments in the cases brought by applications of Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, allegedly detained and tortured in a CIA secret prison in Poland. The judges unanimously ruled that a number of human rights violations had occurred in the cases of both applicants, pointing to abuses of the […]

24.07.2014more
SC on freedom of historical debate surrounding Augustów Roundup

The Supreme Court dismissed the action for the infringement of personal interests of S.W., a priest, in the book titled “Przerwane życiorysy” (“Interrupted Lives”) written by the journalist Alicja Maciejewska. The action involved two fragments of biographical entries concerning close relatives of the priest and the priest himself.

22.07.2014more
Launch of voluntary resettlement programme for Syrian refugees still uncertain

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to the call by the HFHR and other non-governmental organisations in which the NGOs requested the development of a voluntary resettlement programme for refugees from Syria. “We are aware of the tremendous humanitarian needs resulting from the conflict in Syria, and financially speaking the Polish involvement is rather […]

21.07.2014more
Monitoring of local media freedom completed

Over the last two years the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights operated the project “The Monitoring of Threats for the Free Media in Poland and the Reinforcement of the Control Function of the Local Media”.

21.07.2014more
Victim of illegal detention awarded nearly PLN 145,000 in compensation for financial and moral loss

Bogusław Pyrak has been illegitimately detained on remand for more than 12 months. Last week, the Regional Court in Płock awarded him nearly PLN 145,000 in compensation for the financial and moral losses the man suffered due to his illegal detention.

14.07.2014more
Ales Belyatsky comes to Poland!

The Stefan Batory Foundation and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights are delighted to announce a meeting with Ales Belyatsky, a Belarusian human rights defender, and recently released political prisoner. Maria Przełomiec will be moderating the event.

07.07.2014more
First month of summer placement in HFHR legal department

Last week the Legal Department of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights started this year’s edition of the summer student placement programme. As part of their placement at the HFHR, students participate in the works of the initial review team and are involved in the Foundation’s key legal programmes, including the Legal Intervention Programme and […]

03.07.2014more
Pre-trial detention probed by European Commission again

In June, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights started implementing a European project called “The practice of ordering pre-trial detention: monitoring of alternatives and court practice”.

30.06.2014more
PAC revokes ISA’s refusal to disclose PRISM information

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has found that the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has the right to obtain information about the existence of a formal agreement between Poland’s Internal Security Agency and the US National Security Agency.

26.06.2014more
The Committee for the Prevention of Torture Report on Poland

Although in most cases the rights of detained persons are respected, there is still a considerable risk of a detained person being beaten by the Police or otherwise exposed to inhumane or humiliating treatment, says a report on the situation in Polish penitentiary facilities published by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and […]

26.06.2014more
World Refugee Day

More than 30,000 refugees from Syria, currently staying in such countries as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, need immediate help. Despite the unfolding humanitarian crisis, the Member States of the European Union, including Poland, are failing to adequately respond to the situation.

20.06.2014more
HFHR statement on respect for reporter’s privilege

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights wishes to express its deep concern over the media reports on the actions performed by the Internal Security Agency on 18 June 2014 at the offices of the Wprost weekly magazine.

19.06.2014more
Stop targeting Hungarian NGOs!

Last week, non-governmental organisations from across Europe organised a protest against the persecution of their Hungarian counterparts.

12.06.2014more
Constitutional Tribunal: right to defence laws for petty offenders unconstitutional

Under the current rules of procedure applicable in petty offence cases, a person accused of committing a petty offence has no ability to seek advice from counsel at the preliminary stage of the proceedings. The provisions in question also fails to grant the accused access to case files. Last week, the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling declared […]

04.06.2014more
The HFHR reviews draft legislative guidelines on video surveillance

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted a review of draft premises of a law on video surveillance. The draft, prepared by the Ministry of the Interior at the end of 2013, has been supported by the HFHR. It was noted in the review that surveillance “is a tool that may interfere with the […]

02.06.2014more
“Still Behind Bars” – report on monitoring of guarded centres for foreigners

Since 2012, guarded centres for foreigners have undergone visible changes, including the relaxation of the regime. Nevertheless, many things still need to be improved, reads the report “Still Behind Bars” published by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention.

30.05.2014more
ECtHR: judge’s dismissal from the role of President of Supreme Court violates Convention

The ECtHR proclaimed judgement in the case of Andras Baka v. Hungary. Andras Baka was President of the Hungarian Supreme Court. Following the constitutional reform in 2011 and the transformation of the Supreme Court into a new body, the Curia, he was removed from his function. The ECtHR ruled, among other things, that the dismissal […]

28.05.2014more
HRD and anti-discrimination education – HFHR open letter

“Speaking on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, I would like to express our concern over the hostile behaviour of certain media outlets towards the Human Rights Defender, Professor Irena Lipowicz which was a reaction to her letter to the Minister of National Education regarding anti-discrimination education in pre-schools”, reads the open letter […]

26.05.2014more
HFHR to launch Migration Law Clinic

Are you interested in migration law? Do you want to learn about the rights and duties of foreigners staying in Poland? Would you like to know more about the practical application of legal protection awarded to foreigners living in Poland? Apply to the Migration Law Clinic at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and explore […]

09.05.2014more
Releasing information on a refugee violates Geneva Convention

According to media reports, Vietnamese officials visited in April the Białystok guarded centre for foreigners. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued a statement in the case to the Chief Commissioner of the Border Guard. Once again, the HFHR noted that any actions of the Border Guard which result in disclosing identification data of […]

07.05.2014more
Telecommunication data retention v. Constitution

Constitutional Tribunal should consider issuing a signal decision in a case involving the constitutional review of laws governing the storage of and access to telecommunication data, argues the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in a letter to the Constitutional Tribunal.

07.05.2014more
“Freedom of Expression in Artistic Field” – new HFHR publication

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland has launched a publication entitled “Freedom of Expression in the Artistic Field”. It is a compilation of articles edited by two HFHR lawyers, Dominika Bychawska Siniarska and Dorota Głowacka.

30.04.2014more
SAC: legalisation of stay necessary, based on right to family life

The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) admitted the complaint of an Armenian citizen who appealed against a judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw. In the appealed ruling, the first-instance court upheld a decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners to refuse the complainant a tolerated residence permit.

30.04.2014more
Complaint in cassation in Sikh’s case

The Supreme Court will hear the case of Shaminder Puri, a Sikh who was forced to remove his turban during a security check at the Warsaw Okęcie airport. Mr Puri seeks legal redress for the alleged violation of his personal interests.

18.04.2014more
Report: Court Experts in Poland

“The status of court experts, and in particular the rules governing the review of their skills and competences, should be set out in statute”, concludes the report “Court Experts in Poland” launched during a press conference held in the headquarters of the Polish Business Roundtable. The document has been drafted as a joint initiative of […]

17.04.2014more
HFHR’s new project: Ethics in Scientific Research and Technology Innovation

Scientific research and technology innovation are not only economic driving forces but have also, many times, brought about a change in social life. New technologies may influence the standards of fundamental rights protection in such areas as the right to privacy, environmental preservation or the quality of life. Sometimes, they strengthen the individual through reducing […]

15.04.2014more
ECJ to strike down Data Retention Directive

The European Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive to be invalid in the judgment issued on 8 April 2014 in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12. According to the Directive telecommunications services providers were obliged to retain data of phone calls made by citizens of the European Union, including traffic and location data. The […]

08.04.2014more
Secret services hearing before Constitutional Tribunal adjourned sine die

After a three-day hearing the Constitutional Tribunal adjourned sine die the ruling on a case involving control over secret services. The case has been brought on the initiative of the Human Rights Defender and Prosecutor General. The applicants argue a constitutional violation caused by the absence of a clearly defined set of technical measures which […]

04.04.2014more
Return to the roots of ECtHR

This week, on 7-8 April, Oslo hosted a conference discussing the future of the European Court of Human Rights The event, organised under the auspices of the Council of Europe, became one of the most important in a series of debates on the Court’s long-term future started with the Brighton Conference in 2012.

02.04.2014more
Another expulsion without court

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has yet another time informed the Ministry of the Interior about the practice of expelling foreigners before the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw can hear their appeal against a decision declining them refugee status.

26.03.2014more
Do Polish secret services use tools for the remote control of computers and phones?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has filed access to public information motions with the Internal Security Agency and the Central Anti-corruption Bureau, requesting the agencies to disclose whether they operationally use Remote Control System (RCS) software.

24.03.2014more
HFHR’s statement on detained civic journalist

Responding to the pre-trial detention of the civic journalist Paweł M. the HFHR has sent a letter to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Zielona Góra.

21.03.2014more
Disclosure of personal data of Honorata Kaczmarek – application to ECtHR

Honorata Kaczmarek made an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing, among other things, that her right to privacy had been violated. The case involves the publication of Ms Kaczmarek’s personal data during a notorious press conference. The conference was organised in August 2007 to reveal the findings of the investigation into a […]

13.03.2014more
Czy Organizacja Narodów Zjednoczonych niczego nie może zrobić w sprawie Ukrainy? EN

Unsurprisingly, during the three Security Council emergency meetings on Ukraine, held on 1, 2 and 3 March, nobody has even attempted to propose a resolution as any such attempt would be blocked by Russia. However, the deadlock in the Security Council, resulting from the veto power awarded to the Council’s permanent members, does not mean […]

10.03.2014more
Non-governmental organisations on situation in Ukraine

The Civil Society Platform made up of over 60 non-governmental organisations from Europe and Central Asia expressed their disapproval of the Russian operations in Crimean.

10.03.2014more
ECtHR judgments in case Potomska and Potomski v. Poland still waits to be enforced

Three years ago the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a lack of procedure allowing for the effective pursuit of compensation in a situation where a person is unable to use their property for its intended purpose constitutes a breach of property rights. The case involves Mr and Mrs Potomski who purchased a plot […]

05.03.2014more
Supreme Administrative Court to rule on fiscal confidentiality

The HFHR applied to the Minister of Finance for the disclosure of the document entitled “Responsibilities of Tax Audit Offices for 2013”. According to media reports, the document was to introduce the “minimum threshold of effectiveness” of tax audits, set at the level of 71 per cent. This figure stands for the percentage of audits […]

26.02.2014more
CERD’s recommendations on combating racism in Poland

On Friday, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published recommendations for Poland. It is suggested, for instance, that Poland should include racist motivation in the Criminal Code as an incriminating factor to be taken into account by a court in determining guilt and punishment. The CERD also recommends to continue work for the […]

24.02.2014more
Legal aid for Ukrainian citizens

On Friday the Information Centre for Ukrainian citizens was launched. It was created as a joint initiative by the Mayor for Warsaw, the Mazowieckie Province Governor, the Office for Foreigners and NGOs, and is supported by lawyers from the Legal Aid Programme for Refugees and Migrants.

24.02.2014more
Problem of ordering pre-trial detention still unsolved

According to the data from the Ministry of Justice there is a drop in the number of pre-trial detention orders. In 2011, district courts issued more than 18,000 orders, whereas in 2012 the figure fell to 15,000. It seems that decisions to admit motions to order pre-trial detention filed by prosecutors are taken by courts […]

24.02.2014more
Statement of Helsinki Committee in Poland in case of Mariusz T.

“The case of Mariusz T. is a test for Poland as a state ruled by law. It will show if and to what extent we do not agree for laws to be applied retrospectively, as opposed to the fundamental principle of law, and how much we are opposed to detaining a person who has already […]

12.02.2014more
Victim of priest’s child abuse sues for personal interest violation

Marcin K. has filed a lawsuit against Zbigniew R., the Kołobrzeg-Koszalin Diocese and St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Parish. The claimant requests an apology in the national edition of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily newspaper and Newsweek magazine and PLN 200,000 as compensation for moral damages caused by a priest’s sex abuse.

06.02.2014more
Polish National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution – what should be recognised, changed or improved?

The functional model of the general and specialist professional training and development programmes for the staff of the judiciary and prosecution service offered by the Polish National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution should be fundamentally refurbished, says a key recommendation of the report “Polish National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution – what should […]

03.02.2014more
FRA Report: “Access to data protection remedies in EU Member States”

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has published a report on ‘Access to data protection remedies in the EU Member States’. The report, which is based on social fieldwork research, shows the most important problems concerning the access to redress mechanisms in cases of data protection violations.

28.01.2014more
100 questions about PRISM: what has been disclosed by Polish authorities?

It has been more than six months since the US mass surveillance programme PRISM was reported in the press and we are yet to learn all the details regarding collaboration between Polish authorities and the US National Security Agency. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Panoptykon Foundation have not yet received answers to […]

27.01.2014more
Professor Legutko ordered to apologise for “spoilt snots

The Supreme Court dismissed the cassation complaint filed by Professor Ryszard Legutko. Professor Legutko had been sued by two secondary school students, Zuzanna Niemier and Tomasz Chabinka for the infringement of their personal interests. The Professor once called the students “snots spoilt by their parents”.

23.01.2014more
Second monitoring of guarded centres

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention launched on Monday the monitoring of guarded centres for foreigners. The action, initiated by the Ministry of the Interior, will end on 17 February 2014. The NGO monitoring will be accompanied by internal audits conducted by the Ministry’s officials.

20.01.2014more
Comments on implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented its comments to the draft of the first report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The HFHR noted the existing problems related to the observance of the Convention rights afforded to persons with disabilities.

17.01.2014more
Restrictions in Ukraine

Last week, President of the Ukraine signed laws which curb the right to freedom of assembly, speech and religion. The country’s parliament adopted the enactments in December 2013 in contravention of legislative procedures. “The new laws make the Ukraine an authoritarian state”, warn human rights defenders.

17.01.2014more
Act on proceedings against mentally disturbed persons enters into force

In a week’s time, on 22 January 2014, the Act on proceedings against mentally disturbed persons who pose a threat to life, health or sexual liberty of others will enter into force. In December 2013 the President signed it into law but said he would refer the Act to the Constitutional Tribunal for review.

13.01.2014more
Mikołaj Pietrzak receives Edward J. Wende Award

The 10th Edward J. Wende Award has been presented to Mikołaj Pietrzak, an advocate specialising in criminal law and the chairperson of the Polish Bar Council Human Rights Committee.

12.01.2014more
Citizenship may be denied under intelligence agency’s confidential report

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw denied the complaint brought by Paweł Juszkiewicz against a decision which denies the recognition of him as a Polish citizen. The decision was based on a confidential report drafted by the Internal Security Agency, inaccessible for Mr Juszkiewicz.

09.01.2014more
Court: Allegro sales of Nazi symbols can be criticised

The Court of Appeal in Warsaw dismissed the lawsuit of the Allegro Group, the operator of an auction portal, against the Green Light Foundation and J.M. The Court noted that the defendants’ conduct, which consisted in including SS symbols into Allegro’s logo, had been a form of legally acceptable criticism voiced in the exercise of […]

09.01.2014more
Acquittal after 15-year trial

In December 2013, the Circuit Court in Gdańsk acquitted Przemysław S. charged with beating a man to death. The cost of the proceedings will be paid from the state’s purse. Mr S. was fighting for his innocence before different courts for more than 15 years.

19.12.2013more
Statement on access to ATM for visually impaired

The HFHR addressed a statement to the President of the Polish Bank Association, asking if the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and payment terminals used by bank customers in Poland meet the needs of visually impaired persons.

18.12.2013more
HFHR statement on secret services reform

Legislative works on the amendments to the Internal Security Agency Act, the Intelligence Agency Act and the Secret Services Control Committee Act are ongoing. The two bills are an element of the governmental reform of secret services announced by the government in May 2013.

18.12.2013more
Law exams are not adapted for people with disabilities

Currently, people with disabilities may only use special assistance during the advocate, legal counsellor and notary professional qualification exams: they can receive a time extension equal to half of the time available for the standard exam. However, entry exams for the same qualifications are not adapted for the needs of people with disabilities. No adaptation […]

02.12.2013more
Secret CIA prisons in Poland before Strasbourg Court

The European Court of Human Rights has heard the joined cases of Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah vs. Poland. The applicants are Guantanamo detainees who claim that they were detained and tortured in a secret CIA facility in Poland.

02.12.2013more
Senate affirms measures for easier legalisation of foreigner stay

In the course of legislative works on the new Foreigners Act the Senate adopted a provision enabling a foreigner with a family in Poland to legalise his or her stay. Initially, the provision was turned down by two Senate Committees (including the Senate Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee). However, the Senate […]

29.11.2013more
President urged to launch constitutional review of the law on detention of dangerous individuals

The HFHR has called the President of Poland to initiate a pre-promulgation constitutional review of the law on the detention of dangerous individuals.

28.11.2013more
Guilty verdict in case of journalistic sting

The District Court in Białystok found the journalist Endy Gęsina-Torres guilty of the charges but refrained from imposing a sentence. Mr Gęsina-Torres carried out a journalistic sting in the detention centre for foreigners in Białystok. The court ordered the defendant to pay PLN 2,000 for the Fund for Victim and Post-Penitentiary Support.

27.11.2013more
Foreigners Act to be discussed in Senate

The Senate’s Local Government and State Administration Committee and Rule of Law and Petitions Committee invited lawyers of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention to a session devoted to discussing the Foreigners Act draft. At the current stage of legislative works the organisations will also present their amendments to […]

26.11.2013more
The Committee Against Torture issued recommendations for Poland

Having considered the Polish Government’s report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture, the UN Committee Against Torture issued recommendations for Poland. The CAT recommended, among other things, that Poland introduce a statutory definition of torture, improve detained persons’ access to legal aid, conclude the inquiry into secret CIA prisons and limit the scope […]

25.11.2013more
Court: extradition of Belarusian oppositionist is inadmissible

The Circuit Court in Warsaw found that a decision to extradite an opposition activist to Belarus was inadmissible under the law. The proceedings in the case had been pending for a few months.

22.11.2013more
ECtHR asks parties to CIA secret prison cases

The European Court of Human Rights asked the parties questions related to Poland’s responsibility for the violations of the European Convention on Human Rights alleged in the applications filed in the cases al-Nashiri v. Poland and Abu Zubaydah v. Poland.

22.11.2013more
Waldemar T. acquitted. Justice system admits its fault

“It should never happen in a democratic state ruled by law that a murder trial is pending for 18 years. The court, however, is not going to look for those responsible within the ranks of the Prosecution Service. The entire justice system – law enforcement bodies, first and second instance courts – should beat their […]

18.11.2013more
Observation report on Independence March

The HFHR prepared an observation report on the Independence March in Warsaw that took place on 11 November 2013.

15.11.2013more
Second judgment in case of blogger from Mosina. Case referred back to appellate instance

Last week, the Supreme Court heard the case of Łukasz Kasprowicz, a blogger charged with insulting on his blog the mayor of Mosina, Zofia Springer. The case has been pending for four years now. In January this year, the Circuit Court acquitted the blogger. However, the mayor of Mosina filed a cassation complaint with the […]

13.11.2013more
Changes in application of provisions on banning foreigner’s from entering the EU

On issuing decisions denying refugee status to foreigners, the Office for Foreigners (OF) automatically banned them from re-entering Poland, despite the fact that there was no legal ground for imposing such a ban. The [Polish] Refugee Council revoked such decisions. Only in September 2013 did the Office inform about its change of practice in this […]

13.11.2013more
Petitions to EP on violation of right to family life

X.Y. and Z.W. submitted a petition to the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament arguing that Poland violated their rights as European Union citizens. Petitioners noted that Poland’s refusal to enter in the Polish register of births, deaths and marriages the information about them concluding a civil partnership abroad had violated their right to […]

08.11.2013more
Committee Against Torture asks government about situation in Poland

Last week in Geneva, the Polish Government provided explanations to the UN Committee Against Torture regarding the periodic report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture. Wojciech Wegrzyn, Under-secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice led the Polish ten-member delegation. The Committee asked the Government about such issues as secret CIA prisons in […]

05.11.2013more
Rules governing body searches of foreigners unconstitutional, says Constitutional Tribunal

The Constitutional Tribunal held on 29 October 2013 that internal regulations of guarded centres for foreigners which govern body searches were contrary to the Polish Constitution. The constitutional review was launched at the request of the Human Rights Defender.

04.11.2013more
Poland’s legislators continue to work on draft new Foreigners Act

The Sejm committee is working on the draft new Foreigners Act. In the course of the committee’s work in the last week, Sejm deputies incorporated in the draft several recommendations presented by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention.

28.10.2013more
German court suspended handing over of foreigner to Poland

A German court ordered the temporary suspension of the procedure for handing over a foreigner seeking refugee status to Poland.

17.10.2013more
Another European Parliament’s Resolution on CIA secret prisons

The European Parliament adopted another resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA.

14.10.2013more
Halina Bortnowska wins Professor Zbigniew Hołda Award

Halina Bortnowska, Board member of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, was presented with the Professor Zbigniew Hołda Award.

14.10.2013more
Interior Ministry responds to HFHR statement on PRISM

In July, the HFHR inquired about actions taken by the Ministry of Interior in response to the reports regarding PRISM, a US surveillance programme.

14.10.2013more
Some methods of prisoner transfer may violate inmate’s personal interests

W.W., a convicted felon with a spine condition has been transferred many times from prisons to courts holding criminal trials. As a result of the transfers, his health has deteriorated. In consequence, W.W. decided to sue the State Treasury represented by the Chief Commissioner of the Police and Director General of the Prison Service.

11.10.2013more
10th anniversary of Marek Nowicki’s demise

Last week, on 10 October 2013, ten years passed since the death of Marek Nowicki, a human rights advocate, a superb teacher, the first President of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and, most of all, our great Friend.

10.10.2013more
Results of the Fourth Competition for the Best Master Thesis on Human Rights

The Competition’s award committee chaired by Professor Ewa Łętowska granted one third place award and two special prizes. The laureate of the third place award is Tomasz Dudek, graduate of the Institute of International Relations, the University of Warsaw, who wrote his master’s thesis entitled “The methods of interpretation of the Convention for the Protection […]

04.10.2013more
President grants citizenship to a minor Cuban girl

The Cuban girl was born in 2010 in Poland but she acquired neither Polish nor Cuban citizenship. As a result, the girl was stateless for three years.

04.10.2013more
Ales Belyatsky wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize

Ales Belyatsky, Belarusian human rights activist has become the laureate of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, awarded for the first time by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

02.10.2013more
HFHR Report: Hygiene in prisons across Europe

On 8 August, the warmest day of this summer, thermometers showed temperatures rose to 38 degrees Celsius. At that time, over 86 thousand inmates were held in Polish prisons. Some of them, as in previous years, complained to the HFHR that they had limited access to bathing facilities. International standards, on their part, recommend access […]

29.08.2013more
Three years after Grzelak v. Poland: ethics classes in schools still unavailable

In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in the case of Grzelak v. Poland. Mr and Mrs Grzelak had spent several years unsuccessfully trying to provide their son with the opportunity to attend ethics classes. Their son did not attend a religion course and as a result the place for religion/ethics […]

28.08.2013more
How to be a refugee in Poland. New guides prepared by HFHR lawyers

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued two guides developed as part of the Legal Assistance Programme for Refugees and Migrants. The initiative has been financed from the European Refugee Fund and the state budget.

23.08.2013more
Inaugural meeting of Selection Panel of Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. Marek Antoni Nowicki of HFHR among Panel’s members

The inaugural meeting of the Selection Panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize was held in Prague on 26th August. Three nominations for the Prize will be be announced on this occasion. The final decision on the prize winner will be made by the Panel on 29 September 2013 in Strasbourg.

23.08.2013more
Amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan and democratic rules. Legal opinion

Human Rights Club of Azerbaijan and the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on 10 August 2013 present the legal opinion on presidential elections in Azerbaijan. The opinion has been prepared by distinguished constitutional law scholar Professor Wojciech Sadurski.

20.08.2013more
Human rights activist arrested in Bangladesh: letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has written an official letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the Ministry to initiate a diplomatic intervention concerning the arrest of a human rights defender in Bangladesh, Adilur Rahman Khan.

19.08.2013more
HFHR statement on hospitality centre employing persons with mental health problems

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued an official statement to the Governor of the Małopolskie province, Jerzy Miller, concerning the hotel and hospitality centre Zielony Dół which employs persons with mental health problems.

14.08.2013more
Prison governor inquired about outbreak of salmonellosis

Two inmates of the Barczewo prison have contacted the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights asking us to intervene. In their letters they warned against an outbreak of salmonellosis in their prison.

09.08.2013more
International Day of Solidarity with the Civil Society of Belarus

4 August is the second anniversary of the arrest of Ales Belyatsky, a Belarusian political prisoner, human rights defender and head of the Human Rights Centre “Vesna”. In many countries this date marks the day of solidarity with the civil society of Belarus and the country’s human rights movement.

04.08.2013more
Statement regarding pain medication sent to the Minister of Health

The HFHR has asked the Minister of Health, Bartosz Arłukowicz, to look into the practices of patient pain management by Polish doctors.

02.08.2013more
Punishment for possession of drugs for personal use

Last week HFHR’s head office hosted a press conference entitled “Punishment of persons arrested for possession of drugs for personal use” The event was attended by HFHR’s lawyers, Dr. Piotr Kładoczny and Piotr Kubaszewski who co-authored their recent book, “The Act on Prevention of Drug Abuse. A commentary to selected penal provisions”. The Act, amended […]

23.07.2013more
Emendments to the law on sobering stations partially unconstitutional

Tribunal ruled that the provision on application of an open catalogue of technical devices used to exert direct coercion in the form of immobilisation and the provision concerning the entry into force of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety are unconstitutional.

22.07.2013more
ECtHR: refusal to publish advertisement does not violate freedom of speech

Last week, the Strasbourg Court proclaimed judgement in the case of Remuszko v. Poland. The ruling concerned the freedom of speech aspect of the relations between advertisers and press publishers. The ECtHR held that Poland had not violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

16.07.2013more
Second Trainer Course in Multicultural Competences: applications accepted until 4 August 2013

As part of the programme “Take a course for multiculturalism” the HFHR organises the Second Trainer Course in Multicultural Competences. The course will take place from September 2013 to June 2014. Classes are to be held in Warsaw and designed for public sector workers such as employees of educational establishments, central and local government staff, […]

11.07.2013more
Government to ratify Protocols abolishing death penalty

Last week saw the first reading of the government-sponsored bills on the President’s consent to the ratification of two Protocols completely abolishing the death penalty: the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the death penalty, even in times […]

11.07.2013more
Praktyczny przewodnik po art. 212 k.k.

The HFHR’s Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland is proud to present an updated and extended version of the “Handbook of Article 212 of Criminal Code”.

10.07.2013more
Statement on exclusion of rehabilitation equipment from judicial enforcement proceedings

Under Polish law, rehabilitation equipment is not excluded from collection proceedings conducted by court enforcement officers. The Code of Civil Procedure contains an exhaustive list of movables which cannot be made subject to judicial enforcement. Rehabilitation equipment is not included in the list.

05.07.2013more
HFHR statement in Edward Snowden’s case

The media report that Edward Snowden, a former employee of the United States National Security Agency (NSA), has leaked information about the authorities’ involvement in the surveillance of US citizens and foreigners. Consequently, the US government has accused Mr Snowden of espionage.

04.07.2013more
Polish prisons still struggling with overcrowding

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, together with the Association for Legal Intervention, addressed the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to refer to the Polish authorities’ failure to enforce judgments of the European Court of Human Rights made in cases involving the overcrowding of Polish prisons.

26.06.2013more
World Refugee Day

n the wake of the last week’s World Refugee Day and the Government’s adoption of a draft of the new Foreigners Act, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention would like to point the attention of the public to the detrimental effects of the new law on foreigners staying in […]

20.06.2013more
Message for Turkish Prime Minister

The HFHR sent a letter to Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan firmly opposing the latest announcements made by representatives of the Turkish government. The officials declared that the military may be used to suppress the protests erupting in Turkish cities. They also mentioned declaring martial law.

19.06.2013more
Border Guard inquired about guidelines for EU citizen partner’s entrance right

The HFHR has requested the Chief Commissioner of the Border Guard to disclose information on the application of provisions concerning the right of entry to Poland for third country partners of EU citizens. Recently, the Provincial Administrative Court has returned two judgments revoking decisions of the Border Guard denying entry to Poland for non EU-partners […]

13.06.2013more
Successful intervention in title defect case

Mr Łukasz Gorek of Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak sp.k., a pro bono lawyer representing HFHR clients, the spouses D., skilfully negotiated a settlement with the municipality of Kowale Oleckie which agreed to execute a notarial deed, effectively repurchasing a property earlier sold to D.

10.06.2013more
Coalition for Equal Opportunities about draft amendment to Equality Act

In 2010 the Equality Act was adopted to implement certain EU laws in the area of equal treatment. From the beginning, the new legislation was met with reservations by non-governmental organisations. This week the Sejm will debate on the draft amendment to the act proposed by deputies. The Coalition for Equal Opportunities, including the Helsinki […]

07.06.2013more
PAC will rule on extent of fiscal confidentiality

The HFHR has filed a complaint with the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw. The pleading concerned a decision of the Minister of Finance to deny the Foundation access to the document entitled “Responsibilities of Tax Audit Offices for 2013”. In its decision, the Minister argued that the requested document was covered by fiscal confidentiality, and […]

04.06.2013more
“Show the human face of drug policy”. Final results of contest for journalists announced

Newsweek’s Aleksandra Pawlicka and Dziennik Bałtycki’s Dariusz Szreter have been named winners of the contest for journalists “Show the human face of drug policy”. Agnieszka Lichnerowicz (TOK FM Radio), Przemysław Hirniak (Krytyka Polityczna) and Bogdan Wróblewski (Gazeta Wyborcza) received distinctions.

29.05.2013more
HFHR comments visit of Polish parliamentary leaders in China on 4 June

According to a media report, later confirmed by parliamentary sources, a delegation of the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Poland’s Parliament, is to pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China and meet representatives of the ruling Communist Party on 4 June, the date marking an anniversary of the bloody crackdown of […]

29.05.2013more
HFHR statement on Border Guard’s refusal of entry for gay partner of Polish national

A Filipino national, a legal partner of a Pole under the UK law, has been refused entry to Poland by border officers. Both men live together in the UK. The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw heard the complaint against the Border Guard’s two decisions and made a ruling revoking both of them. The court held […]

23.05.2013more
Circuit Court dismissed appeal of journalists with local weekly

The Circuit Court in Poznań dismissed the appeal of two journalists working for the Wiadomości Wrzesińskie weekly, brought against the judgment of a Poznań District Court in the case of disclosure of secret information (case no. IV Ka 351/13). The appellate court upheld the first instance decision to conditionally dismiss the criminal proceedings instituted against […]

23.05.2013more
Rights of hard of hearing persons before Strasbourg Court

The HFHR assists Małgorzata Stefaniak in her case concerning medical care in penitentiary facilities. Ms Stefaniak is an inmate suffering from both-side hearing loss. Despite her impairment, prison authorities failed to provide her with a hearing aid, which would enable the woman to normally function in the prison setting.

17.05.2013more
Statement on Minister Nowak’s lawsuit against Wprost

The HFHR issued a statement to express its concern about the announcement by Minister Sławomir Nowak who said he would demand written apologies worth PLN 30 million in the lawsuit he brought against the Wprost weekly.

15.05.2013more
HFHR intervenes in case of Azerbaijani lawyer

The Helsinki Foundation sent a letter to the Chair of Poland’s Bar Association and the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Azerbaijan to discuss the case of Aslan Ismayilov, the Azerbaijani advocate deprived of the license to practise by the Azerbaijani Bar Association.

13.05.2013more
Helsinki Committee & HFHR: nobody can serve for the same crime twice

A joint statement by the Helsinki Committee in Poland and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights warns that the draft law “on proceedings against mentally disturbed persons who pose threat to life, health or sexual liberty of others” may infringe human rights protection standards.

08.05.2013more
Court of Appeal rules: acquisition of Bogdan Wróblewski’s data was illegal

The Court of Appeal in Warsaw has dismissed the appeal of the defendant, the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), concerning the protection of personal rights of the claimant, journalist Bogdan Wróblewski (case file number I ACa 1002/12). The Court reaffirmed the earlier ruling by the Regional Court which had decided to maintain the claim. The Court […]

27.04.2013more
Statement in response to Lublin councillors position

In late March, the Lublin City Council resolved, “in consideration of the Christian traditions” of the city, to cease the municipal financing of “the works and events contrary to public morale or promoting scandalous content”. The HFHR brought the matter to the attention of the Mayor of Lublin.

25.04.2013more
HFHR lawyer awarded

Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, director of the Observatory of Media Freedom in Poland has been awarded the Article 54 Journalists’ Prize by the Polish Journalists Association.

25.04.2013more
Minister J. Gowin has presented his commentary on secret CIA prisons

The Ministry of Justice informed HFHR that Minister Jarosław Gowin, while commenting on the allegations against Zbigniew Siemiątkowski in the investigation of secret CIA prisons in Poland in a radio interview, based his comments exclusively on his assumptions as to the possible course of the proceedings.

23.04.2013more
Results of the third edition of the Best Human Rights MA Thesis contest

The winners of third edition of the Best Human Rights MA thesis contest organised by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights have been announced. The board of the contest, chaired by Professor Ewa Łętowska, decided to grant three awards and one special prize.

23.04.2013more
Pro Bono Lawyer Contest and ranking list of law offices

For the tenth time, the Pro Bono Lawyer Award has been given by the Legal Clinics Foundation and the Rzeczpospolita daily. During the award-giving gala of 17 April 2013, Rzeczpospolita also bestowed diplomas for individuals and firms featured in the eleventh edition of the law offices ranking.

19.04.2013more
Chief Commissioner of the Police to disclose information on GPS tracking

Upon the Helsinki Foundation’s application for judicial review, the Provincial Administrative Court has reversed the decisions of the Chief Commissioner of the Police who refused to answer the HFHR’s original question about Police statistics on the use of GPS as a covert investigative method. At the same time, the Court obliged the Chief Commissioner to […]

18.04.2013more
Judgment on journalist’s phone records collected by Central Anti-corruption Bureau

On Thursday, 16 April 2013, the Warsaw’s Court of Appeal heard the appeal in the personal interests infringement case brought by Bogdan Wróblewski, a journalist with Gazeta Wyborcza, against the Head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau. The claimant, now the appellee, alleged that the CAB had unlawfully acquired journalist’s telecommunication data, including his phone records, […]

15.04.2013more
No appeal against annulment of school leaving examination unconstitutional?

At the end of February and in early March 2013, more than ten secondary school graduates lodged constitutional complaints with the Constitutional Tribunal requesting the constitutional review of the law not allowing for any appeal against a decision to annul secondary school leaving examination.

10.04.2013more
Rejection of lease offer for community accommodation should suspend eviction

The HFHR applied to the Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, stressing the need to elaborate provisions of the Tenant Protection Act. Under current regulations, a debtor who raises objections as to the standard of housing offered to them by municipal authorities faces a risk of being evicted into the streets.

10.04.2013more
More Azerbaijani activists arrested

An Azerbaijani court ordered detention of another human rights activists in this country. They have been charged with illegal possession of arms. According to local human rights advocates and NGOs, the arrests are related to the protests organised in March.

05.04.2013more
Supreme Court: courts to examine entirety of excessively lengthy proceedings

On 28 March 2013, the Supreme Court adopted a seven-judge resolution holding that an assessment of the excessive length of judicial proceedings covers the entirety of the litigation. It means that courts adjudicating cases initiated by a complaint for an excessive length of proceedings must review the entire procedural course of the case, covering the […]

05.04.2013more
Trial about bunch of grapes ends after seven years

Precisely seven years after two Pruszków psychiatrist had been detained pending trial, the Warsaw Circuit Court discontinued the proceedings against Urszula L. citing the negligible social harm presented by the alleged offences. The Court also affirmed the lower instance’s acquittal of other defendant, Andrzej S. The judgement is final.

28.03.2013more
Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged to respond to crackdown of Russian NGOs

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights urged Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski to spare no effort, both in the bilateral relations with Russia and at the level of international organisations, to counteract threats to the functioning of the civil society in that country. The HFHR responded to thorough inspections of Russian non-governmental organisations carried […]

26.03.2013more
Will rape offence be prosecuted ex officio?

The Sejm Subcommittee on the civil law reform is working to change the mode of prosecuting the offence of rape. Currently, under article 205 of the Criminal Code, the offence is prosecuted on the victim’s motion. The proposed amendments are gearing towards the mode of an ex officio indictment. The HFHR has presented an opinion […]

25.03.2013more
Massive inspections of Russian NGOs

Last Thursday, 21 March 2013, large scale inspections were carried out in offices of a number of Russian non-governmental organisations, including the offices of the human rights group Memorial.

25.03.2013more
Prosecutor’s office response to questions about secret CIA prisons

The HFHR has received the response of the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow to the motion for access to public information regarding the investigation into the alleged secret CIA prisons in Poland (case no. Ap V Ds. 12/12/S).

25.03.2013more
Abu Zubaydah’s application against Poland filed to the ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has received the application brought in the case of Abu Zubaydah vs. Poland. This is yet another case related to human right infringements that allegedly happened in the secret CIA prison in Poland.

25.03.2013more
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

At the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed last week, experts remind about the areas of the most visible ethnic discrimination in Poland.

21.03.2013more
Legal basis for functioning of courts – appeal to National Council of the Judiciary

At the beginning of 2013, regulations of the Minister of Justice concerning, inter alia, abolishment of selected district courts, entered into force. Doubts have been reported whether, in the light of the new regulations, common courts in Poland have a legal basis for activity after 1 January 2013.

15.03.2013more
Another HFHR appeal on Sergei Magnitsky case

The HFHR appealed yet again to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs to impose appropriate visa and financial sanctions on the Russian officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

15.03.2013more
HFHR’s amicus curiae opinion in case Abu Zubaydah vs. Lithuania

The European Court of Human Rights is investigating the case of a former CIA prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, against Lithuania. It follows from the report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that all enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding had been used to elicit information from Abu Zubaydah in CIA prisons in Europe.

15.03.2013more
Green Light Foundation obliged to apologise to Allegro Group

The Circuit Court in Warsaw has ruled that the Green Light Foundation and J.M. infringed the image and reputation of Allegro Group by replacing elements of the auction site’s logotype with the Nazi SS bolts. The court obliged the Foundation to destroy any and all published material with the modified logotype and to publish an […]

14.03.2013more
HFHR’s opinion on draft amendment to Mental Health Protection Act

The government’s draft amendment to the Criminal Code and the Mental Health Protection Act establishes “personality disorder treatment centres” operating as part of the mental health protection system.

07.03.2013more
Cassation against a failure to delete a name on the list of unwelcome foreigners

Chakib Marakchi is a Moroccan citizen. In 2009, he applied to the Head of the Office for Foreigners for the removal of his personal data from both the Polish list of unwelcome foreigners and the Schengen Information System. The Office for Foreigners twice declined Mr Marakchi’s request.

04.03.2013more
HFHR requests Prosecutor’s Office for access to public information

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights lodged the request with the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow, seeking access to public information. The Foundation asked for information concerning procedural issues related to investigation into secret CIA prisons in Poland (case no. Ap V Ds. 12/12/).

03.03.2013more
HFHR’s opinion on changes of telecommunication data retention law

The HFHR has presented the second opinion on the draft legislative guidelines for the law on obtaining and using telecommunication data drafted by the Ministry of Interior. The reviewed legislative draft aims at restricting the interference of public bodies with privacy of individual persons and strengthening the control mechanisms over obtaining and using telecommunications data.

26.02.2013more
Observation of trial on obstructing police on site of deadly shooting of Nigerian citizen

The HFHR has begun to observe the trial of 21 men charged with assaulting police officers and using force to obstruct their work. The incident allegedly happened in May 2010 on the 10th-Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw after the lethal shooting of Maxwell Itoya, a Nigerian citizen. The defendants come from Nigeria, Cameroon, Guatemala and India.

22.02.2013more
Supreme Audit Office reports on health care in prison facilities

The Supreme Audit Office published the report on the provision of health care services to inmates. Its findings are, to a large extent, similar to the conclusions of the HFHR’s programme “Health Care in Polish Prisons”, which was being implemented by the Foundation for the last two years.

22.02.2013more
Judges without presidential appointment lodge new constitutional complaints

Four judges who had not been appointed to office in 2007 made another complaints to the Constitutional Tribunal. The complainants are represented by advocates Marcin Ciemiński, Clifford Chance and Agnieszka Wardak, Salans, and legal counsellor Patrick Radzimierski, Salans, all acting pro bono.

17.02.2013more
Justice Minister about charges in CIA secret prison investigation

The HFHR requested Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin to name information or circumstances which allowed him to assess the evidence collected in the investigation of CIA secret prisons in Poland on the basis of which a decision on indicting former Head of Intelligence Agency Zbigniew Siemiątkowski was taken.

14.02.2013more
Probe into police beating will be continued

A court in Lidzbark Warmiński ordered prosecutors to continue the investigation in a case of men beaten by officers at a police station. The court instructed the prosecution to interview a new witness in the case.

14.02.2013more
ECtHR judgement concerning improper health care in prison facilities

The European Court of Human Rights found that Poland violated the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment in respect of a disabled inmate.

12.02.2013more
Follow-up works on draft Foreigners Act

Poland’s legislators continue to work on the draft new Foreigners Act. In November last year the HFHR presented its remarks to the bill. In late January 2013 the Ministry of Interior hosted a consensus conference to discuss the remarks made by NGOs.

08.02.2013more
Case of al-Nashiri v. Poland declassified

The ECtHR decided to lift the secrecy in the proceedings pending in the case of al-Nashiri v. Poland. The case was communicated to the Polish Government in July 2012. The applicant claims that in years 2002-2003 he was tortured in a secret CIA prison in Poland.

05.02.2013more
Judgment in case on access to toilet facilities appealed

In 2011 Józef Głuchowski sued two bank establishments in Warsaw alleging that his personal interests had been infringed upon as the banks had denied him access to toilet facilities.

01.02.2013more
Publications on health care in prisons

Over the last two years, the HFHR has carried out the programme “Health Care in Polish Prisons – The Pursuit of Compliance with Human Rights Standards”. “After two years of our programme we are well aware of numerous systemic problems in the area of prison health care”, says Maria Ejchart, project coordinator. “We understand that […]

01.02.2013more
Arrest of human rights activists in Azerbaijan

In Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, the police arrested on 26 January 2013 around 40 demonstrators who protested against the rule of President Ilham Alijew and expressed support for residents of the city of Ismayilli, whose earlier protests had been brutally dispersed.

27.01.2013more
Report: “Judge’s assistants and court personnel as an important link in the judicial decision-making process”

The requirements for candidates for judge’s assistants and court personnel do not match the reality. Furthermore, it follows from the HFHR report entitled “Judge’s assistants and court personnel as an important link in the judicial decision-making process” that the remuneration system for judge’s assistants and court personnel is unclear and inadequate, and is coupled with […]

22.01.2013more
President requests constitutional review of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety

President Bronisław Komorowski will apply to the Constitutional Tribunal for the preventive review of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety and Counteracting Alcoholism, announced Krzysztof Hubert Łaszkiewicz, Secretary of State at the Presidential Chancellery during the Thursday’s press briefing.

21.01.2013more
Creator of Antykomor.pl will not be punished for defaming President

The Court of Appeal in Łódź discontinued the case against the creator of the Antykomor.pl web portal with respect to the charges involving defamation of the President of Poland. The Court held that the defendant’s conduct satisfied the statutory definition of the respective criminal offence but, at the same time, caused negligible social harm. In […]

17.01.2013more
What will happen with sobering stations?

On Wednesday, 9 January 2012, Senators voted at a plenary session on the bill amending the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety. Despite the modifications proposed earlier by Senate’s committees, the Senate adopted an unaltered text of the amendment.

11.01.2013more
Ministry of Interior responds to a legal interpretation unfavourable to foreigners

In a letter to the HFHR, the Ministry of Interior agreed to review the practice of applying the provisions governing the status of foreigners unable to obtain a passport. According to initial communications with the Head of the Office for Foreigners, the MoI approached the issue differently than administrative organs.

11.01.2013more
Trial of Mosina blogger comes to an end

The Circuit Court in Poznań, re-hearing the case of Łukasz Kasprowicz, a blogger from Mosina, a town located near Poznań in western Poland, discontinued on 10 January 2013 the criminal proceedings brought against Mr Kasprowicz (case no. IV Ka 1158/12) citing negligible social harm presented by the alleged offence.

11.01.2013more
Twenty years of Legal Aid for Refugees and Migrants

In November 2012, 20 years had passed since the launch of the Legal Assistance for Refugees and Migrants Programme of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

09.01.2013more
Another opinion on changes in the functioning of sobering stations

The HFHR has submitted the second legal opinion on the Polish Senate’s draft amendment to the Upbringing in Sobriety and Alcoholism Prevention Act, Sejm paper no. 978. In April 2012 the Constitutional Tribunal (case no. K 12/11) found that the provisions relating to the imposition of charges for a stay in a sobriety station were […]

03.01.2013more
Position on proposed amendment to Criminal Code’s article 212

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers (PCPR) and the Association of Local Newspapers (ALN) have sent another letter to the Ministry of Justice concerning article 212 of the Criminal Code (CC). The latter has been drawn up in response to the proposed modifications of the Criminal Code’s provisions on […]

28.12.2012more
Open letter on on-line rights infringements

The HFHR has submitted an open letter discussing the growing number of cases where irreverent contents using the image of private individuals are posted online without a person’s consent. Bearing in mind the social importance of the problem, the Foundation called for a reflection on the way discussions are conducted on-line, the nature of contents […]

27.12.2012more
Report: Migration is not a crime

The current regime of guarded centres for foreigners, patterned after the military or prison regime, combined with external design and internal architecture of the facilities must be deemed oppressive, shows the report “Migration is not a crime” published by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention.

18.12.2012more
Winners of 12th WATCH DOCS Festival announced

“Anton’s Right Here”, the film début of the famous Russian film critic Lyubov Arkus has received the first prize of the 12th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film.

17.12.2012more
First decision of ECtHR on victims of the war on terror

The European Court of Human Rights made the judgment in a case on gross human right violations committed in the course of the global war on terror by European countries.

13.12.2012more
Internal Security Agency disclosed certain statistics on its investigative methods

The Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego) provided the HFHR only with selected statistical data on Agency’s investigative methods in the period 2002-2009. Consequently, the ISA failed to fully comply with the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court which ordered the Agency to disclose to the HFHR various statistics on investigative methods.

07.12.2012more
Maciej Nowicki and Konrad Wirkowski about the ongoing WATCH DOCS 2012

Makers of this year’s WATCH DOCS films especially often point their cameras to the suffering but also to those who help the suffering or… oppress them.

07.12.2012more
Expulsion of foreigner may violate their right to court

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention called on Brig. Gen. Dominik Tracz, Chief Commissioner of the Border Guards, to change a practice of his agency that infringes the right to court exercisable by foreigners applying for the refugee status in Poland.

03.12.2012more
12th edition of IFF WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film to start on Friday

“Death row”, a new documentary by Werner Herzog, will open the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film. The opening ceremony will take place on 7 December, in Warsaw. WATCH DOCS is one of the two largest human rights film festivals worldwide. For 12 years, its organisers have been committed to the promotion […]

30.11.2012more
Far-right leader comments reported to prosecution service

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights filed a report of a suspected crime committed by Adam Gmurczyk, Chairman of the nationalist political party National Revival of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski), alleging that Mr Gmurczyk incited a misdemeanour and publicly endorsed a criminal offence.

28.11.2012more
Supreme Court ruled on the right to enter into a lease of a late gay partner

The Supreme Court adopted a resolution to interpret article 691 of the Polish Civil Code. According to the SC, also a person of the same sex as a deceased lessee can be considered to have been in “actual cohabitation” with the lessee, provided that there was emotional, physical and economic bond between the two.

28.11.2012more
Detention of migrant children must be put to stop, say NGOs

Amnesty International, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association for Legal Intervention warn that the draft Foreigners Act fails to provide remedies against detaining immigrant children in prison-like guarded facilities.

27.11.2012more
UN Human Rights Committee decision in Vladislav Kovalev’s case

The United Nations Human Rights Committee issued a decision on Mr Kovalev’s case. In March this year, Vladislav Kovalev was executed for his alleged complicity in carrying out a bomb attack on the Minsk metro in April 2011. The Human Rights Committee found violations of the human rights treaty obligations of Belarus laid down in […]

23.11.2012more
Report from 11 November rallies

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights prepared a report from the rallies held on 11 November.

23.11.2012more
Court revoked decision denying refugee status to homosexual from Uganda

On 20 November 2012, the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw admitted the complaint of a homosexual Ugandan national who challenged the decision denying him a refugee status and other forms of legal protection.

22.11.2012more
HFHR position on dismissal of Rzeczpospolita, a national daily, journalists

“It is unacceptable for an owner of a media company to compel a journalist to disclose confidential information, in particular the identity of a confidential source”, says the HFHR commenting on the case of three journalists of Rzeczpospolita, a national daily, dismissed following the publication of an article entitled “Trotyl na wraku tupolewa” (“TNT on […]

21.11.2012more
Public display of court case lists – IGPPD ‘s response

The IGPPD supported the proposal of the HFHR which advocates that the type of information included on case lists should be regulated by universally applicable legislation.

19.11.2012more
Programme of the 12th WATCH DOCS Festival WATCH DOCS

In three weeks, on 7 December 2012, the 12th edition of the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film will be launched.

19.11.2012more
ECtHR: Poland loses the first case on access to INR’s files

The European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in the case of Joanna Szulc v. Poland. The ECtHR found that the right to respect for private life set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated by denying the applicant access to all the security service documents concerning […]

14.11.2012more
Constitutional Tribunal: the hunting law provisions on disciplinary proceedings unconstitutional

The Constitutional Tribunal held that certain provisions of the hunting law governing disciplinary proceedings are contrary to the Constitution. The Tribunal examined the regulations that prevent a member of the Polish Hunting Association from seeking judicial review of a disciplinary board’s decision other than the termination of the membership.

07.11.2012more
Master’s Thesis on Human Rights Contest, 4th Edition

The third and fourth editions of the national Contest for the Best Master’s Thesis on Human Rights are already underway. As the contest jury will first work to assess the theses submitted during the 3rd edition of the Contest, we decided to extend the deadline for filing theses as part of the 4th edition. Thus […]

05.11.2012more
ECtHR awards compensation in respect of non-pecuniary damage to a teenage girl denied access to lawful abortion

On 30 October 2012, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg published a judgement in the case of P. and S. v. Poland (application no. 57375/08). The case concerned a girl who became pregnant at the age of 14, hence as a result of a criminal act, and who was denied the right to […]

31.10.2012more
Honorary Leader of Trust title awarded to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights received the Honorary Leader of Trust title awarded by the Law & Partners Foundation.

30.10.2012more
HFHR lawyers visited guarded centres for foreigners

In response to the protests of foreigners detained in guarded centres operated by the Border Guards, the Foundation’s lawyers paid visits to the centres in Białystok and Lesznowola and a detention centre housing foreigners pending expulsion. The visits took place on 22-26 October.

30.10.2012more
Intervention concerning court case lists

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has addressed the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data on the issue of entering personal data in case lists displayed in courts. The HFHR requests the IGPPD to consider bringing this problem to the attention of the Minister of Justice.

29.10.2012more
Horizon Group looks for volunteers

The Horizon Group Against the Death Penalty, a satellite organisation of the Association of Young Journalists Polis and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, is seeking volunteers interested in death penalty and its abolition, restorative justice and working with prisoners.

22.10.2012more
Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent tax returns to Belarus

According to press reports, in March 2012 the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent about 30 income tax returns to Belarusian opposition activists. The documents, mailed to Belarus, disclosed income from per diems paid during a conference in Warsaw.

19.10.2012more
ECtHR declares that coercive placement in a nursing home violates the right to liberty

The European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in the case of K. versus Poland. The Strasbourg Court found that the coercive placement of a legally incapacitated person in a nursing home was in violation of the right to liberty.

18.10.2012more
Conditions in guarded centres for foreigners

Media sources report that foreigners detained in several guarded centres operated by the Border Guards have gone on hunger strikes. “We were really concerned to hear that. We, surely, will be monitoring the conditions in these centres”, says Karolina Rusiłowicz, a lawyer of the Programme of Legal Assistance for Refugees and Migrants, HFHR.

18.10.2012more
Supreme Court have generally upheld the acquittal of a local blogger

The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Łukasz Kasprowicz, a blogger charged with defaming Zofia Springer, the mayor of Mosina, a town located in Poznań in western Poland (case No. V KK 391/11). In June 2011 the blogger was acquitted by the Circuit Court in Poznań. A large part of the cassation complaint lodged […]

17.10.2012more
Bloggers wanted!

As part of the Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland Programme, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights carries out the project “Monitoring of Threats to Free Media in Poland and Strengthening the Control Role of Local Media”. The aim of the project is to train 16 citizen journalists who will be keeping blogs […]

12.10.2012more
Supreme Administrative Court has dismissed complaints of judges without presidential appointment

Last week, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the complaints of four judges not appointed to office by the Polish President. The cases of six more judges are yet to be heard. The claimants are represented pro-bono by Mr Marcin Ciemiński, Clifford Chance, and Mr Patrick Radzimierski, Salans.

09.10.2012more
10 October: European Day against the Death Penalty

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 marks the 10th European Day against the Death Penalty. This is not only a day to celebrate the abolishment of the capital penalty in Poland, but also a day to think about the countries where people are legally executed (such as Belarus, the US or China).

08.10.2012more
HFHR addresses Ministry of Interior in the case of foreigners without travel documents

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights sent a letter to the Minister of Interior calling for explanations regarding the situation of foreigners without a valid travel document issued by their home country. The absence of such a document substantially hinders the process of obtaining a fixed-term residence permit from the Polish authorities.

05.10.2012more
PACE resolution to define the notion of political prisoners

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (“PACE”) supported the definition of the political prisoner put forward by the rapporteur Christoph Strasser. A relevant resolution was adopted on 3 October 2012 during the PACE plenary session.

04.10.2012more
Supreme Administrative Court to hear complaints of judges without Presidential appointments

In October 2012, the Supreme Administrative Court is scheduled to hear the complaints of judges who were not appointed to office by the President of Poland despite receiving approval by the National Council of the Judiciary. This year in June the Constitutional Tribunal discontinued the proceedings concerning constitutional complaints lodged by several judges.

27.09.2012more
Opinion on the use of physical force

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Amnesty International Poland issued an opinion to the Ministry of Interior on the draft premises of the new act on the use of physical force by law enforcement authorities. This is the third opinion given by the HFHR and AI on this law. Last week the bill was […]

27.09.2012more
Internal Security Agency ordered to disclose statistics on investigative methods

The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the cassation complaint (case No. I OSK 1393/12) filed by the Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) against the March judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw (case No. II SA/Wa 2718/11). In the judgment the PAC ordered the Agency to disclose statistics on the number of the […]

21.09.2012more
Repealed decisions on the refusal to issue travel documents for two Iraqis

The Head of the Office for Foreigners admitted the HFHR’s complaints directed to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw before their submittal to the Court. He acknowledged that the submissions raised are fully justified. As a consequence, administrative bodies will be once again processing the case of issuing the Polish travel documents for two Iraqis.

19.09.2012more
ECtHR: conviction for defamation violates freedom of expression

The European Court of Human Rights held last week that the conviction of Izabela Lewandowska-Malec for a letter, in which she had expressed critical opinions about mayor of Świątniki Górne, had violated the applicant’s right to freedom of expression (Application no. 39660/07).

18.09.2012more
Letter to the Prime Minister on the enforcement of the ECtHR judgments

The ECtHR inquired Prime Minister Donald Tusk to provide the expected date of developing the report on the enforcement of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Poland.

13.09.2012more
MND: Polish law is no obstacle to the purchase of drones

The Ministry of National Defence has announced its plans to purchase unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs, also known as “drones”) to be used by an independent combat unit. The MND stresses that its intention is to properly adapt the military potential of the Polish army to the type and scale of today’s security threats.

11.09.2012more
EP has adopted the second report on CIA counter-terrorism operations in Europe

On 11 September 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA. The draft of the resolution was prepared by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Hélène Flautre was the Committee’s Rapporteur.

11.09.2012more
The trial of the Antykomor.pl website has started – an account from the courtroom

At the Regional Court in Piotrków Trybunalski, the first hearing took place in the case against Robert F., charged with, among other things, publicly insulting the President of the Republic of Poland (art. 135(2) of the Criminal Code) in connection with running a website including critical and satirical materials about President Bronisław Komorowski (case file […]

06.09.2012more
Polish Government presented its position in the case al-Nashiri vs. Poland

According to the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Government presented to the European Court of Human Rights its position in the case al-Nashiri vs. Poland (application No 28761/11).

06.09.2012more
The case concerning protection of the rights of same-sex couples at the ECtHR

Polish law does not provide any possibility for same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. Neither does it guarantee equal access to social benefits and tax credits related to the protection of family life. For this reason, two Polish women who for the last 8 years have been in a stable same-sex relationship, complained […]

06.09.2012more
SAC: in Poland, secret services cannot be left unsupervised

This is the key point of the judgment pronounced by the Supreme Administrative Court in a landmark case concerning a denial of access to public information on the use of GPS devices in police surveillance. The SAC accepted all the submissions raised by the HFHR in the cassation complaint and referred the case to the […]

31.08.2012more
HFHR’s position on the sanctions against supporters of Jagiellonia Białystok football club

In May 2011, a group of Jagiellonia Białystok fans protested in front of the Podlaskie Province Governor’s Office against a decision to close parts of the stadium during two final matches of the season. In August 2012, the District Court in Białystok fined 35 protesters.

30.08.2012more
Draft amendment to the Prosecution Service Act – opinion of the HFHR

Works on the amendment to the Prosecution Service Act are underway. The changes proposed in the draft amendment include the dissolution of the separate military prosecution service and the establishment of a Government’s power to approve annual “fundamental considerations of criminal policy”. According to the HFHR, works on the bill should be abandoned.

24.08.2012more
HFHR statements regarding imposing taxes on damages awarded for excessively lengthy proceedings

The HFHR sent a letter to the Ministers of Justice and Finance and the Prosecutor General, in which it raised the issue of taxes being imposed on the sums awarded as damages under the Excessively Lengthy Proceedings Complaint Act.

24.08.2012more
European Parliament on the situation in Belarus

“We need to relentlessly address serious breaches of human rights, the lack of basic freedoms and the non-respect of democratic principles – something which is an essential precondition for any deepening of bilateral relations between the EU and Belarus” says Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament in a letter sent to the HFHR.

16.08.2012more
Statement on drones

The HFHR called the Minister of National Defence for explanations regarding the Poland’s military plans to purchase unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs, also known as “drones”) to be used by an independent combat unit.

16.08.2012more
HFHR’s appeals on the matter of legalising the stay of minors in Poland

The HFHR has issued yet another appeal to the Ministry of Interior urging the same to consider adding to the draft Foreigners Act a provision that would enable parents legally living in Poland to legalise the stay of their children.

16.08.2012more
Cracow Outraged rally dissolved: the Foundation calls the Ministry for explanations

In May 2012 the authorities in Cracow dissolved the rally of the local limb of the Outraged movement. In a statement issued to the Minister of Administration and Digitisation Michał Boni, the HFHR referred to doubts of a legal nature and the unclear procedural circumstances surrounding the premature dissolution of the gathering. The Foundation called […]

10.08.2012more
Standards of drafting statements of reasons in judicial decisions – the response of the NCJ

The National Council of Judiciary responded to another letter of the HFHR concerning the issue of judges copying passages from justifications written in other cases. The NCJ upheld its previous position on the matter. In addition, it condemned the practice of repeating lexical, stylistic and punctuation errors in the copied passages of statements of reasons. […]

10.08.2012more
HFHR gives its opinion on the draft amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure

The Helsinki Foundation presented the Minister of Justice with an opinion on the draft law amending the Code of Criminal Procedure, dated 5 June 2012. The project in its current shape is designed to significantly modify the essence of criminal litigation. So far, the court has played a key role in criminal evidentiary proceedings. However, […]

09.08.2012more
Poland’s migration policy

On 31 July 2012, the Government adopted a document entitled “Poland’s Migration Policy – Current Status and Proposed Course of Action”. The proposed solutions, designed for economic and forced migrants, involve legalisation procedures, integration and combating illegal migration.

05.08.2012more
Polish Border Guards refused entry for the gay partner of a Polish national

A Filipino national, a legal partner of a Pole under the UK law, has been refused entry to Poland by border officers. The Border Guard’s decision has been appealed against before the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw, which is expected to make a ruling.

03.08.2012more
Retrial in the case of a local councillor charged with abuse of official power

The Circuit Court in Sieradz heard the appeal in the case of Adam Synowiec, a former city councillor in Zduńska Wola. In the first instance, Mr Synowiec was found guilty of abusing his official power, the offence under article 231(1) of the Criminal Code because he signed a leaflet criticising an intending senator during the […]

03.08.2012more
Intervention on the principles of awarding social housing to the disabled

HFHR received an appeal for help from an inhabitant of Łomża living alone in a social housing apartment. He is a physically disabled, wheelchair-bound person. The apartment he presently occupies is on the 8th floor and cannot be directly accessed by means of an elevator. Additionally, the shared toilet in the corridor is not equipped […]

27.07.2012more
The Senate votes on the amendment to the Assemblies Act

The Senate adopted the amendment to the Assemblies Act. The motion to reject the bill did not win the necessary majority (33 senators voted in favour, 53 – against, and 2 abstained). Senators suggested further amendments to the bill. Now, the bill will be once again referred to the Sejm.

27.07.2012more
An artist from Łódź did not overstep the boundaries of the freedom of artistic expression

The District Court for Łódź Śródmieście acquitted Krzysztof Kuszej on all counts. The artist from Łódź was charged with recording pornographic content depicting minors as well as propagation and endorsement of paedophile activities in his works which addressed the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic Church.

26.07.2012more
Al-Nashiri’s application against Poland communicated to the Polish Government

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg communicated to the Polish authorities the application brought in the case of al-Nashiri vs. Poland. The ECtHR obliged the Polish Government to disclose a series of information concerning the case of 5 September 2012.

23.07.2012more
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the case of Sergei Magnitsky

In response to the HFHR’s letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the Foundation on the measures taken to clear up the circumstances of the Sergei Magnitsky’s death. The Ministry’s letter indicated that as a result of the collaboration of the European states, including Poland, on 27 March 2012 the European Council took a […]

23.07.2012more
Another appeal against the Amendment to Assemblies Act

“The proposed amendment to the Assemblies Act is a serious threat to the freedom of assembly”, warned the members of the Panoptykon Foundation, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups. The organisations announced the appeal made to the Speaker of the Senate (Higher House of the Polish […]

18.07.2012more
Response of the Prosecutor General concerning access to pre-trial investigation files

The Prosecutor General has reacted sceptically to the draft amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which modifies provisions governing access to pre-trial investigation files in their part comprising evidence referred to in the motion to order or extend pre-trial detention.

17.07.2012more
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on human rights defenders

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in its Resolution 1891 (2012) calls on the member States of the Council of Europe to “ensure observance of fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders and put an end to any administrative, fiscal or judicial harassment of human rights defenders.”

03.07.2012more
Appealing against a ban on an assembly

During its last session concluded on June 28, 2012, the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament, the Sejm, passed the amendment to the Assemblies Act. Pursuant to the new regulations, the time limit for submitting a notification of an assembly was extended from three to six days. This modification stemmed from the obligation to implement […]

02.07.2012more
OSCE criticises Poland for retaining the offence of defamation

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, issued a letter to the Polish Minister of Justice, Jarosław Gowin, regarding the offence of defamation. Dunja Mijatović  argues that protesting against Andrzej Poczobut being sentenced by a Belarusian court for defaming President Lukashenko, and simultaneously retaining a controversial legal regulation, makes Poland lose its […]

02.07.2012more
OSCE criticises Poland for retaining the offence of defamation

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, issued a letter to the Polish Minister of Justice, Jarosław Gowin, regarding the offence of defamation. Dunja Mijatović  argues that protesting against Andrzej Poczobut being sentenced by a Belarusian court for defaming President Lukashenko, and simultaneously retaining a controversial legal regulation, makes Poland lose its […]

02.07.2012more
Obstacles in access to pre-trial investigation files

Increasingly more people address the Foundation claiming they have a problem with accessing files from pre-trial investigation, which contain evidence in support of a motion to impose pre-trial detention.

28.06.2012more
Another intervention by HFHR the case of Sergei Magnitsky

Once again, the HFHR addressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski, asking for information about the past and planned measures which intended to impose adequate visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials responsible for Sergei Magnitsky’s death.

22.06.2012more
Organisations warn about a difficult situation of migrant children in Poland

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Amnesty International, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Humanitarian Action and the Association for Legal Intervention warn about a difficult situation of migrant children in Poland.

20.06.2012more
Detention of a Dutch journalist: response of the Chief Commissioner of the Warsaw Police

Counsel representing C. A., an Italian national, approached the HFHR to report inadequacies during the arrest of her client. The Court ruled that the arrest of C.A. was lawful and justified but her placement in police custody and a personal search conducted on her were inappropriate.

19.06.2012more
Appeal on ill-treatment of Ales Belyatsky in a penal colony

The HFHR has appealed to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and to the European External Action Service on the conditions of detention and treatment of Ales Belyatsky, a Belarusian human rights defender, who is currently serving his time in a penal colony.

19.06.2012more
HFHR intervenes in response to anti-Semitic assaults in the Lublin region

The Foundation requested General Krzysztof Bondaryk, head of the Internal Security Agency, to take decisive actions in the case of repetitive anti-Semitic assaults in Lublin.

18.06.2012more
Changes in the press law are not sufficient – an intervention with the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers

Poland has failed to adapt its press law to the standards stemming from the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, warns the HFHR in its intervention to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. The Council will soon evaluate the enforcement of the judgment in the case Wizerkaniuk v. Poland.

12.06.2012more
Judgment on conditions in Polish prisons – Poland responsible for another violation of the prohibition of inhuman treatment

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights released the judgment in the case Grzywaczewski v. Poland. Once again, ECtHR found that Poland had violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting the use of torture or other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

05.06.2012more
Hurdle race or the integration of migrants in Poland

A language barrier, bureaucracy and ambiguity of law, shortage of affordable housing, dishonest employers and discrimination, these are the main problems faced by foreigners living in Poland, as shown by the Foundation’s survey carried out among migrants living in Warsaw, Łódź, Białystok, Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot.

01.06.2012more
The United Nations Human Rights Council presented recommendations to Poland

During a session in Geneva the United Nations Human Rights Council made an evaluation of the Poland’s record of compliance with the country’s human rights obligations under the Universal Periodic Review, UPR. The Council issued as many as 124 recommendations to Poland.

31.05.2012more
Ministry of Justice asks Russia for written guarantees for Ignatenko

The Deputy Minister of Justice requested Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Russia’s Investigative Committee, to submit written guarantees if Poland decides to surrender the former Russian prosecutor to Russia.

29.05.2012more
US Department of State on human rights in Poland

In its annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the US Department of State gave a positive assessment of human rights protection in Poland. Yet the report lists a number of shortcomings in the areas of the prison policy, efficiency of the justice system and prevention of discrimination. The report reads: “Prison and detention centre […]

28.05.2012more
Second letter to the Minister of Justice: the response challenging position of the Ministry regarding Article 212 of the Criminal Code

Early this year the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Association of Local Newspapers and the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers as organisers of the campaign “Let’s delete Article 212”, urged Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin to take legislative initiative to abolish criminal liability for defamation.

28.05.2012more
HFHR Report: Diarchy in courts? A status, tasks and competence of courts’ directors after the reform

In January 2013, new regulations on the role of courts’ directors in district courts will enter into force. In its report entitled “Diarchy in courts?” the Foundation presents a review of this organisational reform.

25.05.2012more
FRA: widespread exclusion of Roma persists

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations development programme (UNDP) published a report on the situation of Roma people across Europe. The report shows that Roma continue to experience discrimination and social exclusion in the entire EU.

24.05.2012more
New draft law to regulate corrections of press articles

The HFHR presented its comments on the latest legislative proposal of the regulation of correction in press law to the Senate’s Legislative Committee. In its position statement, the HFHR positively assessed the proposed modifications to the current draft amendment. The new proposals changed its previous version which received wide criticism from, among others, the Helsinki […]

21.05.2012more
HFHR comments on Ignatenko’s extradition to Russia

In February 2012, the Circuit Court in Nowy Sącz ruled that former Moscow prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko may be extradited to Russia. A month later, the Appellate Court in Cracow upheld the first-instance court decision. The case files were sent to the Minister of Justice who is to finally decide on Mr Ignatenko’s extradition. The HFHR […]

18.05.2012more
Eurovision Song Contest 2012: Human Rights in Azerbaijan

On 22 May 2012 the capitol of Azerbaijan, Baku, will host another edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Poland won’t be represented at the upcoming competition as the Polish national broadcaster TVP has decided not to join the show this year.

17.05.2012more
Meeting with Liubov Kovaleva

Last week the meeting was hosted with Liubov Kovalyova, mother of Vladislav Kovalyov, a man sentenced to death for his alleged complicity in carrying out a bomb attack at a Minsk metro station on 11 April 2011. The sister of the executed Belarusian also took part in the meeting.

15.05.2012more
HFHR’s appeal to the Mayor of Śródmieście District

The Foundation appealed to the Mayor of Śródmieście District in respect of the recent decision of the Board of Śródmieście District, Warsaw made during the latest edition of the “Premises for Culture” initiative.

15.05.2012more
Response of the Chief Commissioner of the Police to the intervention in the case of the mistake of a Police tactical unit

In the response to the HFHR’s intervention in the case of the mistake of a Police tactical unit, the Chief Commissioner of the Police pointed out that the internal investigation revealed that the error was the responsibility of two police officers from the Vehicle Crime Unit of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Katowice. Disciplinary proceedings […]

11.05.2012more
Supreme Administrative Court declined the cassation complaint in the case of a police officer dismissed from the force

The boards declared M.B. unfit for duty pursuant to an Annex to the Regulation of the Minister of Interior of 1991 setting out the list of diseases and impairments which are to be taken into account in issuing decisions on a degree of fitness for duty. The disability decision issued for M.B. is based on […]

11.05.2012more
How and who do the tax authorities control?

In response to its motion for access to public information, the Foundation received an internal document of the Ministry of Finance setting out the principles of tax control over excessive income obtained from disclosed sources or income generated from undisclosed sources.

10.05.2012more
The Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee of the Senate of the Republic of Poland convenes to discuss the enforcement of ECtHR judgements

Professor Michał Seweryński has notified the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights that a meeting of the Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee of the Senate of the Republic of Poland is planned on 16 May 2012. The Committee convenes to discuss the enforcement of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. […]

30.04.2012more
CBA infringed personal interests of a journalist by accessing his phone records

The Circuit Court in Warsaw decided the case brought by the journalist Bogdan Wróblewski against the head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA). The Court ruled in favour of the journalist and found that the CBA had infringed Mr Wróblewski’s right to privacy, secrecy of communication and the reporter’s privilege by acquiring and consulting his […]

26.04.2012more
The court allowed, the court convicted: judgment in the case of journalists from Września

A journalist and the editor-in-chief of a local newspaper  were proclaimed guilty of disclosing information on closed-door court proceedings. The guilty verdict was rendered despite the fact that it was the court itself who had allowed the journalists to access the records of the proceedings to write a newspaper article. The adjudicating judge refrained from […]

26.04.2012more
HFHR lawyer appointed as a member of the Advisory Panel to the Director of FRA

Last Friday, Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, a lawyer  at HFHR, won the highest number of votes and was re-appointed as a member of the Advisory Panel to the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

23.04.2012more
Constitutional Tribunal proclaims the amendment to the Access to Public Information Act unconstitutional

The procedure employed to amend the Public Information Act fell short of the constitutional requirements for the legislative process, held the Constitutional Tribunal last week, deciding the motion brought by  Poland’s President. The complaint concerned a controversial provision of the amended Act that limits access to public information. The Tribunal’s decision repeals the provision.

18.04.2012more
Professor Ryszard Legutko ordered to apologise Wrocław secondary school students

The Circuit Court in Cracow found Prof. Legutko, a former conservative education minister, currently a member of the European Parliament, in breach of the personal interests of two Wrocław secondary school students. Mr Legutko had called them, among other things, “snots spoilt by their parents” and named their actions “a typical, infantile  tantrum”. The Court […]

18.04.2012more
ECtHR: Poland has violated the prohibition of torture

The European Court of Human Rights held that Poland had violated the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment in the cases of Piechowicz v. Poland and Horych v. Poland. The both cases concerned the situation of high-risk detainees status.

17.04.2012more
Prosecution Service issued a statement on the alleged CIA prisons

According to the statement of the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow received by the HFHR, in the course of the investigation involving the offence under article 231(1) of the Criminal Code (abuse of power) the prosecutors interviewed 62 persons and collected 20 volumes of evidence.

11.04.2012more
Rzeszów court: Musa Dogan will not be extradited to Turkey

The Circuit Court in Rzeszów ruled that the Musa Dogan’s extradition to Turkey would be inadmissible, citing the risk of torture as one of the grounds for the decision.

11.04.2012more
Launch of the report ‘Electronic Monitoring System – Current State and Future Challenges’

The current model of electronic monitoring system (“EMS”) is not optimal, says last week’s report by the HFHR, ‘Electronic Monitoring System – Current State and Future Challenges’.

04.04.2012more
ECtHR decided the case of Kaperzyński versus Poland

The European Court of Human Rights delivered  the judgement in the case of Kaperzyński versus Poland. The case concerned a conviction for the failure to publish a correction to a press article. The Court held unanimously that the criminal liability for the failure to publish a correction violated the freedom of speech.

03.04.2012more
Homosexual refugee must return to Uganda

The Polish Council for Foreigners decided to expel a homosexual from Uganda to his home country.  The Council upheld a decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners who refused to grant the foreigner a refugee status or other type of protection.

30.03.2012more
Supreme Court: the hearings open for the public. Usually…

The Supreme Court’s resolution was issued in response to a legal inquiry submitted by the President of the Court.

30.03.2012more
Criminal sanction for refusal to publish a correction remains the law. Foundation’s critical review

As a party invited to the public consultations, the HFHR presented before the Sejm and Senate committees a critical review of the draft amendment to the provisions on correction and response in the Press Act. The Foundation prepared a long list of reservations concerning the draft prepared by the Sejm and Senate committees.

29.03.2012more
Report on the closure of the Elba squat

The observers believe it may be argued that what they saw was the police officers actually assisting the owner of the occupied property and his private security personnel in evicting Elba squatters.

27.03.2012more
EP Committee hearing on the alleged CIA prisons in Europe

In 2006, the European Parliament issued a report on the CIA-operated clandestine detention programme in Europe. The follow-up to the report is already underway. ‘During today’s hearing we have highlighted the key facts pertaining to the current investigation into the existence of secret CIA prisons in Poland’, said Dr. Adam Bodnar, Deputy Chair of the […]

27.03.2012more
HFHR’s statement regarding the mistake of the police special unit

In Katowice, a tactical unit of the police deployed to arrest a wanted criminal targeted the wrong apartment and subdued an innocent couple. The HFHR issued a letter to the Chief Commissioner of the Police, expressing concern over the course of the unit’s action.

22.03.2012more
Campaign to prevent immigration detention of children

Last week, the International Detention Coalition, supported by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, launched an international campaign to abolish the placement of foreign children in guarded facilities. The IDC launched its policy document on a new model of immigration detention, which protects the rights and liberties of children of asylum seekers and irregular migrants.

21.03.2012more
ECtHR: the journalist found guilty of refusing to publish a correction may request re-opening of the proceedings

In March 2012, the European Court of Human Rights accepted a unilateral declaration of the Polish Government and decided to strike the case of Sroka v. Poland off the case list. The case concerned the criminal judgement against an editor-in-chief found guilty of refusing to publish a correction to an article. The ECtHR held that […]

20.03.2012more
Death sentence carried out in Belarus: HFHR Open Letter

The HFHR expresses its outrage over the executions of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov and urges Belarusian authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on the capital punishment.

19.03.2012more
Provincial Administrative Court: Internal Security Agency should disclose statistics on investigative methods

‘Though investigative methods are clandestine, the secrecy requirement does not apply to statistical data recording the frequency of their use; thus, there are no grounds to assume that such data cannot be disclosed’, said the judge Jacek Fronczyk citing reasons for the decision.

14.03.2012more
Amendment to the Internal Security Agency Act

Last week, the Senate Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee and the Legislative Committee met to consider a legislative initiative regarding an amendment to the Internal Security Agency Act. The need for an amendment of this Act was voiced by the Constitutional Tribunal in November 2010.

13.03.2012more
Public hearing on an amendment to the Assemblies Act

The public hearing on the presidential proposal of an amendment to the Assemblies Act took place in the Sejm on 7 March 2012 (Sejm paper no. 35). In total, nine organisations applied to participate in the hearing. These were, among others, the Forum of Civic Development, the Panoptykon Foundation, the Independence March Association and the […]

12.03.2012more
No legal protection against eviction into the streets for tenants of flats for uniformed services

The law currently in force does not provide the members of the uniformed services and their families with a universally applicable standard of protection of their tenants’ rights.  The issue concerns occupants of residential premises administered by the Minister of Interior and his subordinate bodies, units of the Prison Service and the Heads of the […]

06.03.2012more
Unavailability of a toilet is a violation of personal dignity

Józef Głuchowski sued two branches of Warsaw banks alleging that his personal interests had been infringed upon as the establishments had denied him access to toilet facilities. As of the end of February, Mr Głuchowski and one of the banks settled the case. Last week, a Circuit Court decided the claim against the second bank […]

06.03.2012more
Prison guard case comes to an end

Last week the Supreme Court dismissed a cassation complaint filed by the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Białystok. This marked the end of a four-year long trial against Dariusz Basałaj, a prison guard working at the Detention Centre in Białystok. In 2009 Mr Basałaj was charged with contributing to the death of one of the inmates.

05.03.2012more
Judgment rendered in the case of a Roma denied entry to a club

The incident took place on 10 December 2010. On that day the claimant, Adam G. and three other people went to the Cuba Libre restaurant. The security personnel asked him to leave the place. According to the account given by Adam G., a security guard invoked guidelines of the club’s owner which denied access to […]

29.02.2012more
Statement in the case of Siarhei Kavalenka

Polish non-governmental organisations involved in international development cooperation and supporting democracy in Belarus as part of the “Zagranica” Group’s Working Group on Belarus voice their vigorous objection to the guilty verdict against the Belarusian political activist Siarhei Kavalenka,  and express concern about his life.

28.02.2012more
Opinion on the extradition of M.D. to Turkey

The individual is a Turkish Kurd. In 1996 he was sentenced to harsh life imprisonment by the State Security Court in Izmir. Further, upon the abolishment of the State Security Courts, his sentence was changed to a term of imprisonment which was subsequently upheld by the Turkish Supreme Court.

27.02.2012more
Toilet access case settled

Józef Głuchowski sued two bank establishments in Warsaw alleging that his personal interests had been infringed upon as the banks had denied him access to toilet facilities. The last week’s hearing ended with the settlement between the claimant and one of the banks. By the settlement, the bank agreed, among other things, to make its […]

21.02.2012more
Łódź nurses trial comes to an end

The case brought by three nurses from Łódź, who had been dismissed for organising an allegedly illegal strike, has been completed. On appeal, the Circuit Court in Łódź upheld the decision of the first-instance court ordering re-employment of the nurses.

20.02.2012more
Does Poland guarantee a proper medical care to the detained persons?

The applicant contends that he could not properly take care of his personal hygiene and meet his physiological needs in a cell in which he was detained. Further, he was not offered any physical rehabilitation treatment required because of his disability. The applicant notified the prosecutor’s office of conditions of his detention. However, the latter […]

18.02.2012more
HFHR’s comments on the amendment to the Telecommunications Act

As a party invited to the additional open consultations regarding the amendment announced by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization the HFHR has put forward its comments on the amendment to the Telecommunications Act.

18.02.2012more
Opinion on the extradition of a Russian prosecutor

The Circuit Court in Nowy Sącz allowed Russia’s request for expulsion of Alexander Ignatenko, former first deputy prosecutor of the Moscow region. Mr Ignatenko was arrested by the Polish Internal Security Agency at the beginning of 2012.  The HFHR has presented an opinion in the case.

17.02.2012more
Public hearing on the Assemblies Act

Taking into account the significant public interest in the works on an amendment to the Assemblies Act, the joint Sejm Committees of Justice and Human Rights and Administration and Internal Affairs decided to hold a public hearing on the amendment. The hearing was scheduled at noon on 7 March 2012. As part of the public […]

17.02.2012more
Sikh’s case goes to appeal

Shaminder Puri appealed against the decision of the first-instance court given in the case against the Polish Border Guard Service. Mr Puri, a British Sikh, filed a suit seeking protection of his personal interests reportedly violated by Border Guard officers ordering him to remove his turban during security checks performed at Okęcie Airport in Warsaw.

17.02.2012more
Are provisions of the Petty Offences Procedure Code constitutional?

In June 2011 the Human Rights Defender (RPO) filed a motion with the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) to conduct a constitutional review of article 4 of the Petty Offences Procedure Code. Pursuant to the challenged article a person suspected of committing a petty offence has no right to a lawyer until a motion for penalty is […]

15.02.2012more
NGO reply to disclosed ACTA negotiating documents

A group of non-governmental organisations addressed the Prime Minister in response to the government’s publication of documents relating to the Poland’s position in ACTA negotiations. ‘We consider the publication as a step into the right direction taken by public administration, an expression of the intention to explain doubts and confusion regarding ACTA’, reads the statement.

10.02.2012more
Poland will take actions in Magnitsky case

“Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that Poland will take actions to develop a common and strong position of the European Union urging Russia to conduct a transparent and consistent with international standards investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

08.02.2012more
Access to wire tapping statistics – Provincial Administrative Court has revoked a decision of the head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau

The Provincial Administrative Court (WSA) in Warsaw revoked the decision of the Bureau’s director to discontinue the proceedings initiated upon the HFHR’s motion to disclose statistics on investigative methods used by the CBA, including wire tapping (case no. II SA/Wa 2695/11).

07.02.2012more
Foundation’s statement in the case of a journalist under surveillance

The HFHR has made a statement on the action for the protection of personal interests filed by Bogdan Wróblewski against the Head of the CBA. The case concerns the journalist’s telecommunications data, including his phone records, obtained by the Bureau in years 2005-2007. The HFHR participates in the proceedings as a community representative.

06.02.2012more
Why were non-governmental organisations absent from a debate held by the Prime Minister?

‘We appreciate the effort made by the government to join the civic debate on the freedoms and rights on the Internet […]. However, in view of all the controversy surrounding ACTA we strongly believe that an honest debate cannot be held without full transparency and openness’, reads the NGOs’ statement.

06.02.2012more
National Broadcasting Council’s response to the Foundation’s request in the matter of awarding licences for multiplex transmissions

In January the Foundation requested to be provided with detailed information on the procedure of awarding television broadcasters with licences to broadcast on the first digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex.  

02.02.2012more
Calling on the Prime Minister to postpone the signature of ACTA

Last week, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights called on the Polish Prime Minister to delay signing by Poland of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ‘ACTA’, until all doubts concerning the treaty are resolved.

25.01.2012more
Minsk Court upheld the ruling in Ales Belyatsky’s case

Minsk Court upheld the custodial sentence of four and a half years in a penal colony for Ales Belyatsky, the head of Human Rights Centre Vesna.

24.01.2012more
Court’s approval of marriage between disabled persons

In last week the court consented to the marriage between Katarzyna Barszczewska and her partner.

23.01.2012more
Supreme Court: the risk of a severe sanction is an independent, special prerequisite for pre-trial detention

In October 2011, the Human Rights Defender (RPO) moved the Supreme Court requesting the Court’s opinion on the legal question regarding Article 258(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The RPO had doubts as to whether this regulation stipulated an independent special prerequisite for applying pre-trial detention and thereby allowed for an automatic assumption that […]

20.01.2012more
The Report ‘Delegation of Judges to the Ministry of Justice. Constitutional and Practical Issues’

Delegated judges, whose number has been increasing year by year, are becoming more and more important part of the Ministry of Justice staff. Their number has gone up five times in last five years. However, there are no detailed recruitment and selection procedures for vacant civil service posts within the Ministry, says the report of […]

19.01.2012more
Blogger has won the case. He is not liable for Internet users’ comments

On Thursday, 19 January 2012, the Court of Appeal in Cracow changed the decision of the first-instance court and dismissed the lawsuit for the protection of personal interests brought against Andrzej Jezior in an attempt to hold him liable for comments posted by internet users on his blog.

19.01.2012more
The HFHR appealed to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to strictly supervise the enforcement of the ECtHR judgement entered in the case Kubaszewski v. Poland

The HFHR appealed to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to strictly supervise the enforcement of the ECtHR judgement entered in the case Kubaszewski v. Poland (application no. 571/04). The case involves an infringement of the right to freedom of expression and demonstrates a broader problem of disregarding the relevant standards of the ECtHR […]

16.01.2012more
Case of Bogdan Wróblewski vs. CBA already in court

On Thursday, 12 January 2012, the first hearing in the proceedings against the head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) was held in the Circuit Court in Warsaw. The suit, filed by Bogdan Wróblewski, a journalist with the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, involves an infringement of claimant’s personal interests, which allegedly consisted in the CBA’s unlawful […]

12.01.2012more
Intervention to the KRRiT in the matter of transparency of the procedures for awarding licences for multiplex transmissions

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights requested Jan Dworak, the head of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), to disclose detailed information on the procedure of awarding television broadcast licences for the operation of multiplex digital terrestrial broadcasting services.

11.01.2012more
Publication of Supreme Court decisions

In December 2010, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Forum of Civic Development published the report ‘Public Availability of Judicial Decisions’. The report contains analysis and assessment of the law and practice of citizens’ access to judicial decisions.

03.01.2012more
Amendments to the Criminal Enforcement Code

On 1 January 2012 the amendment to the Criminal Enforcement Code came into force. The new legislation significantly modifies the law governing post-conviction proceedings.

02.01.2012more
Third time’s a charm, or a defamation case to be retried

Last Friday (30 December 2011), the Circuit Court in Świdnica heard the appeal in the case of an allegedly defamatory statement included in a reader’s article sent to a newspaper. The Court reversed the judgement entered by the District (first-instance) Court in September 2011 and remanded the case for retrial. The District Court will be […]

30.12.2011more
HFHR statement in another case of surveillance of journalists

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is concerned by the information about actions taken by the Military Circuit Prosecution Office in Poznań who requested the disclosure of the phone data of three journalists of national media investigating the crash of the presidential plane near Smolensk, Russia.

30.12.2011more
Another appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued in the case of Sergei Magnitsky

The Foundation called on the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs to impose appropriate visa and financial sanctions on Russian officials responsible for death of Sergei Magnitsky. The Foundation already submitted two similar requests, in February and June 2011.

27.12.2011more
The judgement in the case of Sikh against Border Guard

It took the Circuit Court in Warsaw more than a year to resolve the case. During six hearings, the claimant argued that the checks he had been subject to violated his dignity, honour and the freedom of conscience, religion and denomination. For Sikhs, removal of a turban in public is an insult. In his suit […]

21.12.2011more
Bene Merito medals

Danuta Przywara, HFHR President, and Bogna Chmielewska, Foundation’s expert, received Bene Merito medals awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski.

19.12.2011more
HFHR appeal before the EU-Ukraine Summit

On  19 December, the EU-Ukraine Summit was held in Kiev, marking the conclusion of negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. On this occasion, the HFHR issued an open letter to raise the issue of the recent decrease in the level of human rights protection in the Ukraine.

19.12.2011more
Landmark decision of the Supreme Administrative Court

On Friday, 16 December, the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) ruled that the monies awarded to a party as compensation for the excessive length of the proceedings are tax exempt.

16.12.2011more
Is copying passages from other judgements an infringement of the judicial ethics?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was approached by the attorney for X.Y., a litigant in several commercial proceedings pending before the Circuit Court in Z. The initial analysis of two rulings made in these proceedings shows that their wording, to a major extent, repeats the content of two earlier cases decided by other adjudication […]

16.12.2011more
Constitutional Tribunal: penal sanctions for the failure to register a magazine unconstitutional

On 14 December the Constitutional Tribunal examined the constitutionality of the press registration requirement. The Constitutional Tribunal found that Article 45 of the Press Law providing for the criminal liability for the failure to register a journal or magazine is in violation of the freedom of expression and the right to obtain opinion.  The Tribunal’s […]

15.12.2011more
Statement concerning the amendment of the Drug Reimbursement Act

In its address to the Minister of Health, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights warns that ‘as from 1 January 2012, protection of patients’ rights in Poland may be significantly weakened’ as a result of the controversial amendment to the Drug Reimbursement Act.

08.12.2011more
Statement of the Zagranica Group in response to judgment in Ales Belyatsky’s case

Polish non-governmental organisations express a vigorous protest against the draconian sentence passed on 24 November by a Minsk court on Ales Belyatsky, a distinguished human rights advocate and the head of the Human Rights Centre Vesna, organisation abolished by the Lukashenka’s regime.

30.11.2011more
Lecture pro memoria Marek Nowicki

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Open Society Foundations have the  pleasure to announce the next of the series of Marek Nowicki memorial lectures.

24.11.2011more
PILnet Award for HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme

The HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme has won the European Award for Partnership in the Public Interest bestowed by the  Public Interest Law Network (PILnet) for the most effective public-interest collaboration with law firms in 2011. The Award was handed out during the 2011 European Pro Bono Forum in Berlin held on 17-18 November in Berlin.

18.11.2011more
Case remanded for retrial for the sixth time

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has been taking an ongoing interest in the trial against Waldemar T. for more than ten years.

15.11.2011more
Observation of the 11th November rallies

At the request of the Chief of the Warsaw Police Force, 24 observers of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights were sent to observe rallies held on the Poland’s Independence Day.

12.11.2011more
Court discontinued the proceedings in the case on defamation in scientific review

On Wednesday, 9 November 2011, the District Court in Lublin discontinued the proceedings against Sławomir Poleszak, accused of including defamatory statements in his review of the book by Mirosław Piotrowski, Professor at the Catholic University of Lublin and a member of the European Parliament. The Court held that the defendant’s conduct did not satisfy the […]

10.11.2011more
Report ‘Non-custodial preventive measures’

Courts and prosecutors still do not use non-custodial preventive measures often enough, says the joint report by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Forum of Civic Development and the Polish Business Roundtable drafted as part of the ‘Better Justice System’ project.

07.11.2011more
Commentary on a case involving the limit of critical review in scientific writing

Below, we present the opinion on a case involving the limit of critical review in scientific writing given by Ireneusz C. Kamiński, HFHR legal expert.

05.11.2011more
Infringement of the rights of activists in Azerbaijan

On 11 August 2011 a group of construction workers started to demolish a building at Shamsi Badalbeyli street in Baku which housed three Azerbaijan NGOs. The offices of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, the Women’s Crisis Center and Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines were knocked down. Two employees who were in the building at […]

04.11.2011more
Circuit Court: the Armenian woman placement at a foreigner detention centre ‘groundless’

The Circuit Court in Przemyśl ordered the authorities to release an Armenian national from a foreigner detention centre. The woman, who has been staying in Poland for 18 years, was detained pending expulsion. The appeal against the detention order issued by the District Court in Przemyśl was submitted by lawyers of the Programme of Legal […]

28.10.2011more
More authority for the Agency for Fundamental Rights

The Vienna-based Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has been established to analyse and study the observance of human rights in the EU. The Agency is not authorised to take actions in individual cases but regularly publishes reports and analyses of selected human rights issues.

26.10.2011more
Judgment in the case of a Roma who was refused entry to a club

On Monday, 24 October, the Circuit Court in Poznań ruled in the case of Adam G. who in December 2010 was refused entry to Cuba Libre, a club in Poznań, because of his Roma ethnicity. Having conducted a hearing, the Circuit Court dismissed G.’s claim against the club owner. In the oral reasons for the […]

25.10.2011more
Court decided on the right to enter into a lease of a late gay partner

The District Court in Warsaw ruled against X., a claimant seeking to enter into a lease signed by the claimant’s gay partner.

18.10.2011more
The European Day against Death Penalty

More than 200 people have signed the protest against death penalty in Belarus.

11.10.2011more
The campaign “Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code”

Prior to the Parliamentary elections, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Polish Chamber of Press Publishers and the Association of Local Newspapers conducted the campaign ‘Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code’.

10.10.2011more
Blogger has lost a lawsuit concerning the comments posted by internet users

The Circuit Court in Tarnów has ruled against A.J. in the case involving the protection of personal interests. The claimant, former mayor of the R. town, claimed that he had lost his second term in the last local elections because of an offensive comment posted under an article on the respondent’s blog.

05.10.2011more
Amicus curiae brief in a case Remuszko against Poland

Mr Remuszko is a journalist. In 1999 he authored the book ‘Gazeta Wyborcza. Początki i okolice’ (Gazeta Wyborcza. Beginnings and Beyond), which presented the beginnings of the major Polish daily in an unfavourable light. In 2003 the second edition of the book appeared but no reviews were published in the print media.

04.10.2011more
New publications as part of the programme Healthcare in Polish Prisons

Experts of the programme ‘Healthcare in Polish Prisons. Towards compliance with human right standards’ has compiled a guide on the rights and freedoms of detained persons in the context of filing complaints against improper healthcare services offered to inmates during their incarceration.

03.10.2011more
Hearings of foreigners within the administrative procedure

The findings of the Foundation’s report point out a range of problems appearing during questioning of foreign nationals, most common of which are the lack of interpreter services, failure to notify the questioned of their rights and duties and infringement of their right to privacy.

29.09.2011more
The open letter before the Eastern Partnership summit

The Eastern Partnership summit was held last week. It has been the first meeting of heads of states and governments since the launch of the initiative in 2009. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights delivered an open letter regarding the summit.

28.09.2011more
HFHR wants to join in the action brought by Bogdan Wróblewski

The 8 October 2010 issue of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily featured an article titled ‘Journalists targeted by secret services'(Dziennikarze na celowniku służb specjalnych’) by Wojciech Czuchowski.

27.09.2011more
44,300 rulings still unenforced

The Ministry also noted that because of the currently high prison population levels and the existing infrastructural capabilities of the Prison Service, it is impossible to guarantee each inmate the four square meter minimum of the cell floor space. 

26.09.2011more
President signed the amendment to the Access to Public Information Act

President signed the amendment to the Access to Public Information Act. Last week non-governmental organisations, including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers, the Stefan Batory Foundation, the E-state Foundation and Article 61 Association urged the President to veto the amendment or launch its constitutional review.

26.09.2011more
HFHR Report: Class action suits after a year from their introduction

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published the report ‘Class action suits after a year from their introduction’. ‘The institution of a class action suit is not a revolutionary change in the Polish law’, says Marek Niedużak, the author of the report. ‘Still, this is an important step towards a better access to justice’, […]

23.09.2011more
Can a scientific review be the cause of action in a defamation suit?

Sławomir Poleszak, PhD, head of the Public Education Office of the Lublin branch of the Institute of National Remembrance, wrote a review of the book ‘Narodowe Siły Zbrojne na Lubelszczyźnie’ (National Armed Forces in the Lublin region) by Professor Mirosław Piotrowski. The review was to be published in the Freedom and Independence History Research Bulletin […]

20.09.2011more
E-court is doing its job – publication of the HFHR report

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a policy paper “Electronic reminder proceedings  – projected goals and their practical realisation”, whose findings confirm that the e-court system, operating for the last 18 months, has been properly performing its function. ‘Nevertheless, it is necessary to make further improvements’, says Artur Pietryka, an HFHR expert.

19.09.2011more
Amendment to the Act on access to public information

On Friday, 16 September, the Sejm adopted the amendment to the Act on access to public information. Under the amended Act the right to information might be limited ‘to protect a serious economic interest of the state’. In July, following widespread criticism from NGOs, the provision was withdrawn by the Sejm Committee.

16.09.2011more
Danuta Przywara, HFHR President of the Board, decorated

On Thursday, 15 September, President Bronisław Komorowski decorated the HFHR President of the Board Danuta Przywara with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

15.09.2011more
International community calls again to explain the case of CIA prisons

On Wednesday, 7 September 2011, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a draft resolution on the abuse of the state secrecy privilege by intelligence services acting to protect state security. The draft resolution was based on the latest Dick Marty’s report, which […]

08.09.2011more
Government Legislation Centre responds in the matter of the amendment of Assemblies Act

The Head of the Government Legislation Centre (RCL) responded to the Foundation’s letter concerning the amendment to the Assemblies Act. Maciej Berek, Head of the RCL, said there had been no defects in the RCL’s course of action discussed in the letter.

08.09.2011more
The last month of the summer internship programme

‘Cases handled by the Foundation are of great interest to me. That’s why I wanted to see how it is to work on them’, says Karolina Miksa, a law student from Cracow.

06.09.2011more
The campaign ‘Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code’

On Monday, 5 September, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers and Association of Local Newspapers launched the campaign ‘Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code’.

05.09.2011more
Amicus curiae brief in case of train driver

In mid-August a train derailed near Piotrków Trybunalski, central Poland. One person died and more than eighty others were injured in the crash. By order of the District Court in Piotrków Trybunalski, the train driver who had been in charge of the locomotive was remanded in custody pending trial.

31.08.2011more
Did the prosecution service disclose information regarding other Belarusian oppositionists?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights asked the Prosecutor General to reveal whether the Polish prosecution service provided the Belarusian authorities with information on other Belarusian oppositionists. The HFHR has learnt that several Belarusian oppositionists associated with the Human Rights Centre Vesna had to abandon their plans of returning to Belarus as they were afraid […]

26.08.2011more
Call to consider a request for the constitutional review of an amendment to the Courts Act

The Sejm has adopted the amendment to the Courts Act. This is one of the key laws adopted by the 2007-2011 Sejm. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has serious reservations as to the quality of the legislative works on this draft law and calls the President to consider asking the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) to […]

26.08.2011more
Journalist cleared of the charges under Article 212. She had the right to speak her mind

The District Court in Zabrze cleared an editor of the website Zabrzanie.pl of the charge of defaming the local director of the House of Music and Dance. Delivering the verbal reasons for the judgement, the court found that to declare the journalist guilty would be to violate the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of […]

24.08.2011more
Assemblies Act still waiting for amendment

May 2011 marked the fourth anniversary of the European Court of Human Rights judgement Bączkowski and Others v. Poland. In the Bączkowski case the ECHR found, among other things, a violation of the freedom of assembly and ordered that the Polish law governing this issue be amended. The Polish Government has not yet implemented the […]

23.08.2011more
Prisons in Poland are still overpopulated

The Central Prison Service Authority reports that the average population of penal institutions and remand centres in Poland stands at 97.8 per cent of the institutions’ capacity. Yet, the detailed statistical data from mid-July 2011 indicate that in many places the occupancy level exceeds 100 per cent, reaching the alarming 129 per cent in some […]

19.08.2011more
Nurses from Łódź demand to be re-employed

The District Court for Łódź-Śródmieście has resumed the case of the three nurses who in 2008 were dismissed from work for organising an illegal strike in two Łódź hospitals. The ground for dismissal was their allegedly culpable conduct.  The claimants demand to be re-employed and paid the outstanding remuneration.

18.08.2011more
The National Police Headquarters disclosed information on the state witness protection programme

According to the records of the Poland’s National Police Headquarters (KGP) currently 86 state witnesses and 139 witnesses’ close relatives are covered by the state witness protection programme. The KGP also informs the public of the costs of operating the State Witness Programme Management Unit, which amount to PLN 11,039,000 in officers’ salaries and PLN […]

17.08.2011more
Discrimination against firefighters?

The HFHR has issued a letter to the Ministry of Interior and Administration, in which it expressed its suspicions of discrimination against the principles of acquiring state pension rights by the Air Rescue and Fire-Fighting Services.

14.08.2011more
Prosecution service have disclosed information about Ales Belyatsky

It has come to the attention of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights that on 27 June 2011 the Polish Prosecutor General’s Office has provided Belarusian authorities with details of the Polish bank accounts held in the name of Ales Belyatsky, head of the Human Rights Centre Vesna, a Belarusian human rights advocacy. We have […]

12.08.2011more
Anything new about legal aid rates?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reiterated its concern about legislative changes resulting from draft legal aid regulations of the Minister of Justice, particularly the establishment of a new rate for legal aid cases concerning compensation for moral and financial losses.  The rate was set as a lump-sum of PLN 120 (VAT excluded) regardless of […]

12.08.2011more
A witness defamed a defendant during the trial before the Circuit Court in Lublin

On Thursday, 4 August 2011, the Circuit Court in Lublin dismissed the appeal brought by Zbigniew Ż., found guilty of defaming his neighbour D.R. by calling him ‘a Police snitch’. The incident took place at courtroom during the trial of D.R., who was charged with assault causing bodily harm. Zbigniew Ż. was a witness in […]

09.08.2011more
Intervention in the case of football hooligans from Świdnik

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented to the District Prosecutor in Świdnik Sylwester Woźniak an amicus curiae opinion on the legitimacy of pre-trial detention imposed on K.T., M.S., A.K. and P.P.

08.08.2011more
Amendments to the Penal Execution Code approved by Senate committees

On Wednesday, 7 September 2011, the Senate’s Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee and the Legislative Committee of the Polish Senate held a joint meeting. The agenda of the meeting included the amendment to the Penal Execution Code.  The draft law proposes major changes to the current wording of the Code. The […]

08.08.2011more
Ales Belyatsky arrested

We regret to inform that on 4 August 2011 our friend Ales Belyatsky, head of the Human Rights Centre Vesna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights was arrested in Minsk, Belarus.

05.08.2011more
Blogger tried for Internet users’ comments HFHR amicus curiae opinion

Another hearing in the case for personal interests infringement brought against A.J. was held before the Circuit Court in Tarnów. The claimant, mayor of the town of Ryglice, asserts that he lost the local elections because of an insulting comment of an anonymous user that had been posted under an article at the respondent’s blog. […]

05.08.2011more
Is eavesdropping on conversations between a client and an attorney in criminal cases legally admissible? An amicus curiae opinion

In his complaint submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal Krzysztof Pierścionek challenges the constitutionality of article 19 of the Police Act. Article 19 enables the authorities to gather materials documenting contacts between defendants and their attorneys, obtained through investigative methods.

04.08.2011more
New month, new interns

On Monday, 1 August, another group of students started their placement programme in the HFHR legal department. As part of their internship, they will be participating in the work of Foundation legal programmes such as the Legal Intervention Programme, Strategic Litigation Programme and Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland.

02.08.2011more
HFHR’s appeal to increase the number of Advocates-General

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reiterated its appeal to the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union expressing its concern about the Court’s failure to increase the number of Advocates-General. Regrettably, the HFHR has not yet received any response to its first letter raising the issue, sent on 10 march 2011.

02.08.2011more
A firm ‘No’ to the death penalty

The Horizon Group Against the Death Penalty, a satellite organisation of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, and Amnesty International Poland issued a joint declaration to express their deepest concern about statements made by certain politicians and columnists who supported the idea of reinstating the death penalty in Poland and Europe.

29.07.2011more
Comments to the bill amending the Access to Public Information Act

On Tuesday, 26 July 2011, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Polish Chamber of Press Publishers submitted their comments to the government’s bill amending the Access to Public Information Act and certain other acts (Sejm paper no. 4434).

26.07.2011more
Hearing in the case of an artist from Łódź

On Monday, 18 July, the court heard the case of Krzysztof Kuszej, an artist from Łódź. Kuszej is a 47-year-old graduate of The Strzemiński Academy of Art in Łódź who earns his living as a computer graphic designer and paints in his spare time. In some of his works, Mr. Kuszej deals with social issues […]

26.07.2011more
Comentary on judgment concerning freedom of speech

On 21 July, the Warsaw Circuit Court ruled in a much-publicised civil case brought by Agora S.A., the publisher of Gazeta Wyborcza, against writer Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz. We present a commentary on this judgment by our legal expert, Ireneusz C. Kamiński.

22.07.2011more
Judgment of the Regional Administrative Court in Foreign Children Case

The Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw has recently issued a judgment in the case of three foreign children that is significant from the perspective of prior case-law.  Whereas both the court of first resort and the court of second resort had issued negative rulings in the case, the Regional Administrative Court repealed the rulings, and […]

20.07.2011more
A letter of the HFHR to the President of FIBA Europe

On 15 July the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights intervened with the President of FIBA Europe, the European branch of the Federation of International Basketball Associations, regarding the incident that occurred during the European Women’s Basketball Championship held in Poland in June.

19.07.2011more
‘Stop or I’ll shoot!’ – a public debate is required before the new law enters into force

A lack of a detailed analysis, insufficient detail in the needs presented and references to an abstract threat – these are the key issues concerning the draft of the new law on the use of physical violence and firearms by public authorities, according to Amnesty International (AI) and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

14.07.2011more
Condemnation of the latest repressions in Belarus

With the 13 July 2011 ‘Letter concerning mass arrests in Belarus’ sent to Belarusian authorities, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and thirty-seven other organisations from sixteen states condemned the continued repressions against civil society and the recent arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Belarus.

14.07.2011more
LRAD Devices: Chief of Police Responds to HFHR Letter

The Chief of Police has responded to the [June 20, 2011 Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights letter] concerning the acceptability of the use of LRAD 500X devices by the Police for purposes of incapacitation.

14.07.2011more
CPT report on the situation of detained persons and prisoners in Poland

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published a report on Poland.

13.07.2011more
Judgment in the Case Initiated by Dorota Rabczewska’s Complaint Against Mieszek Sibilski

In a judgment pronounced on July 8, 2011, the Court of Appeal in Poznan has demanded that Mieszek Sibilski apologize to pop singer Dorota Rabczewska for the contents of his publication on the Web site www.grupaoperacyjna.pl.

12.07.2011more
Uneven standards for publishing judgements

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights believes that, as a general rule, judgements should be published on-line or issued in a hard copy, either free of charge or against a minimum processing fee.

07.07.2011more
Constitutional Tribunal: criminal liability for insulting the President declared constitutional

On 6 July 2011 the Constitutional Tribunal (Trybunał Konstytucyjny, TK) ruled that a law under which the insulting of the President of the Republic of Poland in public is punishable with up to 3 years in prison conformed to the Polish Constitution.

07.07.2011more
ECHR: Poland has violated the freedom of speech

On 5 July 2011 the European Court of Human Rights entered an important judgement in the case of Wizerkaniuk v. Poland, in which the Court held that the obligation to obtain an authorisation of the interviewee for the text to be published and the criminal liability for non-compliance with this requirement constituted a breach of […]

05.07.2011more
Summer internship programme with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is already underway

On Monday, 4 July, the Legal Department of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights started this year’s edition of the summer student placement programme.

05.07.2011more
RPO’s motion to the Constitutional Tribunal to conduct a constitutional review of the laws governing the use of technical measures as part of investigative techniques

The Human Rights Defender (RPO) filed motion with the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) to conduct a constitutional review of the laws governing the use of technical measures as part of investigative techniques used by law enforcement agencies. The RPO cites the HFHR’s statement on the matter.

01.07.2011more
HFHR’s negative assessment of amendments to the law proposed in relation to the preparations to EURO 2012

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has made a critical assessment of the legislative process for the amendment of a number of laws needed to properly organise the European Football Championships EURO 2012.  

30.06.2011more
A court in Lublin rules on the inadmissibility of extradition in line with the HFHR’s opinion

The Circuit Court in Lublin has ruled on the inadmissibility of surrendering the wanted A.K, a Belarus citizen, to the judicial authorities in Belarus. The ruling has already become final and binding.

29.06.2011more
The future of Schengen cooperation

At the 23-24 June 2011 meeting of the European Council, held in Brussels, the EU Member States’ heads of government and state discussed the impact of increased immigration on the Schengen Agreement, the treaty which removed internal border controls in the countries forming the Schengen Area.

25.06.2011more
Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups (SLLGO) v. the Prime Minister of Poland

The Supreme Administrative Court, by its judgment of 17 June 2011, dismissed a cassation appeal brought by the representative of the Prime Minister of Poland against a 2010 judgment delivered by the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw. The case concerned the availability of certain public information, including the content of documents specifying tasks related to […]

17.06.2011more
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Amnesty International Poland are appealing to the President

HFHR and AI appealed to the President of the Republic of Poland to hold a meeting in the Public Debate Forum. The groups want the meeting to be devoted to problems under Polish law that appeared in relation to the suspicions concerning the alleged CIA prisons in Polish territory.

14.06.2011more
Europe Strives Toward Integration of Roma

The Roma are one of the largest ethnic groups in Europe, comprising approximately 12 million EU inhabitants.

13.06.2011more
Order of Polonia Restituta for Professor Wiktor Osiatyński

On 8 June 2011, President Komorowski decorated Professor Wiktor Osiatyński, a long-standing friend of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the originator of the Strategic Litigation Programme, with the Commander’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order.

09.06.2011more
A blogger from Mosina acquitted

On Wednesday, 8 June 2011, the Circuit Court in Poznań acquitted Łukasz Kasprowicz, the blogger charged with defaming the mayor of Mosina, a town near Poznań in western Poland. Mr. Kasprowicz was found not guilty on 13 of the 15 counts. The Court discontinued the proceedings regarding the remaining two counts, citing the negligible social […]

08.06.2011more
Legal executives: how qualified they will be?

According to the proposed scheme of the legal executive profession (‘doradca prawny’), law graduates will be qualified to provide legal advice and draft legal opinions, pleadings and contracts. They will also be authorised to act before public administration bodies and represent clients in civil matters pending before the lowest level (district) courts.

07.06.2011more
Order of Polonia Restituta for Halina Bortnowska

On the twenty-second anniversary of the 4th June first free parliamentary elections, President Bronisław Komorowski decorated founders and activists of non-governmental organisations who contributed to the creation of the civic society after 1989.

06.06.2011more
Przekrój journalist acquitted of violating unfair competition law

On Thursday, 2 June 2011, Anna Rucka, a journalist with the Przekrój weekly, was acquitted by the District Court in Zakopane. Ms Rucka was accused of disseminating false business information, a misdemeanour under the Polish unfair competition law. The case was conducted as part of the Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland Programme.

03.06.2011more
The new HFHR’s project

In May 2011 the HFHR launched a new project titled “Europe of Human Rights”.

02.06.2011more
HFHR activist detained in Belarus

At about 11:30 on the morning of Saturday, 28 May 2011, several human rights activists were detained by the Militia in Minsk, reports the Committee on International Control over the Situation with Human Rights in Belarus. The arrest took place during a seminar on Police reform, held at the headquarters of the Belarusian National Front.

28.05.2011more
Raising the issue of CIA prisons

On the occasion of US President Obama’s visit to Poland, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights called on Prime Minister Tusk to raise the issue of the alleged CIA prisons in Poland.

27.05.2011more
An intervention concerning the Family Support and Substitute Custody Act

On Thursday, 26 May 2011,  the Senate, the upper House of the Polish Parliament, discussed its amendments to the Family Support and Substitute Custody Act. Senators voted for the adoption of an amendment which bans homosexuals from acting as foster family and running family-type children’s homes. The HFHR intervened in this matter with Grzegorz Schetyna, […]

26.05.2011more
Open letter on the AntyKomor-pl website

The author of the AntyKomor-pl website posted critical and satirical remarks regarding the incumbent Polish President Bronisław Komorowski. In the early morning of 17 May 2011, officers of the Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) searched the apartment of the website creator as part of an investigation into the allegation of a potential insult […]

24.05.2011more
Declining air time is mobbing

The District Court of Łódź ruled in favour of journalist Jarosław Warzecha, who sought compensation from his former employer, the Łódź local branch of public radio broadcaster Polskie Radio; Warzecha had accused Polskie Radio of mobbing.

23.05.2011more
Intervention with the Governor of the Mazovia Province

For some time now HFHR’s lawyers have been dealing with an alarming practice of the Governor of the Mazovia Province regarding the procedure for issuing the Polish travel document for foreigners enjoying subsidiary protection in Poland. According to Foundation’s experiences, such applications are denied unless the foreigner is able to present a certificate issued by […]

20.05.2011more
Intervention with the Governor of the Mazovia Province

For some time now HFHR’s lawyers have been dealing with an alarming practice of the Governor of the Mazovia Province regarding the procedure for issuing the Polish travel document for foreigners enjoying subsidiary protection in Poland. According to Foundation’s experiences, such applications are denied unless the foreigner is able to present a certificate issued by […]

20.05.2011more
The Supreme Administrative Court: the Head of the Internal Security Agency is responsible for inaction

The Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) will have to consider a motion filed by the HFHR requesting that the Foundation be provided access to the statical data on the investigative methods employed by the Agency. On Wednesday, 18 May 2011, the Supreme Administrative Court (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny, NSA) dismissed the cassation complaint of […]

19.05.2011more
The Supreme Administrative Court: the Head of the Internal Security Agency is responsible for inaction

The Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) will have to consider a motion filed by the HFHR requesting that the Foundation be provided access to the statical data on the investigative methods employed by the Agency.

19.05.2011more
Who are Constitutional Tribunal candidates?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, partnering with the Institute for Law and Society INPRIS and the Polish Section of the International Commission of Jurists, is engaged in the project of civic monitoring of candidates for Polish Constitutional Tribunal judges.

17.05.2011more
Intervention with the Ministry of Interior and Administration on the ‘anti-government slogans’ on football fans’ banners

According to the recent media reports the police officers were ordered to remove banners with ‘anti-government slogans’ held up by football fans protesting against the government’s decision to close certain stadiums. The HFHR is convinced that the presence of ‘anti-government slogans’ written on banners does not, on its own, authorise the law enforcement agencies to […]

17.05.2011more
Adam Bodnar received the Tolerance Award 2011

We have the pleasure to announce that Dr. Adam Bodnar, Secretary of the HFHR Board, received this year’s Tolerance Award.

17.05.2011more
Who are Constitutional Tribunal candidates?

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, partnering with the Institute for Law and Society INPRIS and the Polish Section of the International Commission of Jurists, is engaged in the project of civic monitoring of candidates for Polish Constitutional Tribunal judges.

17.05.2011more
Intervention with the Ministry of Interior and Administration on the ‘anti-government slogans’ on football fans’ banners

According to the recent media reports the police officers were ordered to remove banners with ‘anti-government slogans’ held up by football fans protesting against the government’s decision to close certain stadiums. The HFHR is convinced that the presence of ‘anti-government slogans’ written on banners does not, on its own, authorise the law enforcement agencies to […]

17.05.2011more
The opinion on the Educational Information System

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented its opinion on the Educational Information System Bill. The purpose of the bill (its Polish version is available here) is to create a system for acquiring data required to conduct educational policy and manage the education system. Also, the draft law provides for gathering personal data of pupils […]

16.05.2011more
The opinion on the Educational Information System

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented its opinion on the Educational Information System Bill. The purpose of the bill (its Polish version is available here) is to create a system for acquiring data required to conduct educational policy and manage the education system. Also, the draft law provides for gathering personal data of pupils […]

16.05.2011more
The Coalition for Equal Opportunities asks the Human Rights Defender about the enforcement of the principle of equal treatment between private entities

The Coalition for Equal Opportunities requested the Human Rights Defender (Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, RPO)  to be given access to the legal opinion regarding potential unconstitutionality of the RPO’s involvement in discrimination cases concerning private entities.

10.05.2011more
The opinion on the Educational Information System

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented its opinion on the Educational Information System Bill. The purpose of the bill (its Polish version is available here) is to create a system for acquiring data required to conduct educational policy and manage the education system. Also, the draft law provides for gathering personal data of pupils […]

10.05.2011more
The Coalition for Equal Opportunities asks the Human Rights Defender about the enforcement of the principle of equal treatment between private entities

The Coalition for Equal Opportunities requested the Human Rights Defender (Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, RPO)  to be given access to the legal opinion regarding potential unconstitutionality of the RPO’s involvement in discrimination cases concerning private entities.

10.05.2011more
The opinion on the Educational Information System

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented its opinion on the Educational Information System Bill. The purpose of the bill (its Polish version is available here) is to create a system for acquiring data required to conduct educational policy and manage the education system. Also, the draft law provides for gathering personal data of pupils […]

10.05.2011more
Recent changes of the Hungarian Constitution vs. human rights

‘The events that took place in Hungary over the last days of 2011 are especially alarming in the context of human rights protection’, said experts at the press conference held as part of the activities of the Sejm Committee for Justice and Human Rights.

05.01.2011more

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