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New Technologies – New Justice – New Questions: the latest report by the Helsinki Foundation and Clifford Chance

According to over 93% of the lawyers participating in a survey of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish justice system does not make adequate use of new technology solutions, shows a report prepared by the HFHR in cooperation with Clifford Chance. At the same time, the vast majority of the respondents (96%), claim […]

International human rights organizations urge HRC to support extension of mandate of Special Rapporteur on Belarus

In a joint statement, Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) and more than 30 Belarusian and international human rights organisations call on UN Human Rights Council member States to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus during the Council’s upcoming 47th session. Full text of the statement:   To Permanent […]

Changes in the Board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

After more than a decade of serving as President of the Board and more than thirty years of work at the Helsinki Foundation, its co-founder Danuta Przywara steps forward to become Chair of the Council, replacing Professor Janusz Grzelak in this role. On 15 June, the former Deputy President of the Board of the Helsinki […]

Can digitisation of courts be the remedy for the lengthy proceedings?

We present you the first of a series of discussions about digitisation of courts. The debate participants included: Ewa Ivanova, journalist, Gazeta Wyborcza Marcin Ciemiński PhD, Clifford Chance Warsaw Piotr Kładoczny PhD, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.   The debate is part of ‘New Technologies — New Justice’ – a joint project of the Helsinki […]

European Court of Human Rights will examine access to a lawyer in Poland. HFHR submits amicus curiae brief

♦ The ECtHR will consider a case (no. 47834/19) involving crucial aspects of the right to a fair trial, i.e. the right to access a lawyer in the initial stages of criminal proceedings. ♦ International bodies, including the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the UN Committee against Torture or the Subcommittee against Torture, […]

Statement of the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on comments made by the President of the Republic of Poland on the Commissioner for Human Rights 

Warsaw, 6 May 2021 STATEMENT We have received comments made by the President of the Republic of Poland regarding the Commissioner for Human Rights with indignation and distaste. Not only due to the fact that we know the Commissioner well and hold the incumbent in high esteem. Regrettably, we perceive these words as constituting an […]

HFHR takes action in response to police conduct in Głogów

♦ According to a video released to the media, a police officer arresting a protester appears to have used force disproportionate to the behaviour of the person detained. ♦ In a letter sent to the head of a provincial Police department, the HFHR noted that only the necessary and least oppressive measures of direct coercion […]

Arrests and abuse of force: HFHR writes to the Chief Commissioner of the Police on protests against a judgment of the Constitutional Court

♦ Protests have erupted in Warsaw after the Constitutional Court delivered the so-called judgment on the Ombudsman’s term of office. ♦ Once again, the police have engaged in abusive conduct that may have violated the guarantees under the European Convention on Human Rights. ♦ The Helsinki Foundation sent another letter to the Chief Commissioner of […]

Declaration of social organisations on the takeover of the office of the Ombudsman by the parliamentary majority

As representatives of social organisations, we object to the hostile takeover of the office of Ombudsman by the ruling parliamentary majority.  We do not accept the de facto settlement of our rights and freedoms by Julia Przyłębska’s politically dependent tribunal, the disregard of the fundamental principles of reliable proceedings, including the independence and impartiality of […]

COVID-19 survivor detained despite ill health, prevented from seeing his lawyers. Detention lifted thanks to HFHR’s brief

♦ The HFPC was approached by the counsel of a person detained on remand despite ill health, suffering from the consequences of hospitalization and severe COVID-19). ♦ The counsel emphasised that their client, who speaks only Italian, is unable to communicate any symptoms or abnormalities resulting from his ailments. At the same time, his access […]

Open Letter to the European Commission – Rule of Law Crisis in Poland

Ursula von der LeyenPresident of the European Commission Věra JourováVice-President of the European Commission Didier ReyndersMember of the European Commission Dear President,Dear Vice-President,Dear Commissioner, Further to the letter of December 2020, endorsed by more than 5,000 judges and prosecutors of the Member States, we, the representatives of Polish civil society organisations and European scholars specialising […]

“New” trials in “old” courts, or how the pandemic changes court sittings

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the long-standing calls for more extensive digitisation of the justice system. “E-trials” provide an example of the use of new technologies in the courts. They can not only become a solution to such problems as access to courts or lengthy court proceedings but can also help the judiciary to deal […]

Statement delivered by Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on the High Commissioner report on the situation of human rights in Belarus

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has delilvered a statement on the High Commissioner report on the situation of human rights in Belarus. HFHR emphasises the monumental crisis of the rule of law and human rights in Belarus and the intensification of political repressions. HFHR is deeply concerned about increased practice of disbarment of lawyers, including […]

Public statement on the human rights situation in Belarus: repressions against lawyers and advocates

HFHR with the partners, prepared the statement in the support of lawyers in Belarus. We invite you to sign the statement, as well as elaborate your own position on the situation, which can be sent directly to the Ministry of Justice, the Belarusian Republican Bar Association, Minsk City Bar Association, and/ or other places, as […]

In search of reasonable time… of court proceedings: HFHR publishes a report on judicial backlogs

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published another report on the excessive length of court proceedings. ♦ Although most of the changes introduced to the general system of common courts are officially justified as means designed to accelerate judicial proceedings, protracted trials have remained a major weakness of the justice system. ♦ The […]

More cases of police abuse against protesters. HFHR intervenes with Chief Commissioner of the Police

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has written to the Chief Commissioner of the Police in connection with the incidents that occurred on 20 and 28 January 2021 during protests of the National Women’s Strike. ♦ According to press accounts, the police have cordoned off and used chemical agents on some protesters who were […]

Business, Judicial Independence and the Rule of Law

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights published the report Poland: Business, Judicial Independence and the Rule of Law, prepared in cooperation with the American Bar Association, the main objective of which was to highlight the impact of legal and policy changes introduced by the governing majority since its coming to power in 2015 on conducting business […]

Human Rights in the Times of a Pandemic. 10 months, 10 rights, 10 restrictions, 10 recommendations for the future…

In March 2020, the World Health Organisation announced that the coronavirus epidemic reached the level of a global pandemic. In Poland, the state of pandemic emergency was initially introduced1, and a week later, the state of pandemic was declared. The last ten months have been a time of concern for the health of ourselves and […]

Doubts overshadow Poland’s selection procedure of candidates for ECtHR judges

♦ On 21 February 2020, the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe sent a letter inviting Poland to submit a list of three candidates for the post of judge of the European Court of Human Rights by 8 March 2021. ♦ On 9 October 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […]


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