AA
A
sign up for the newsletter: 

Twitter

News

Call on the EU: Restore rights and values at Europe’s borders

As European civil society and professional organisations working on asylum, migration, humanitarian assistance and human rights, we are shocked by the continuing humanitarian crisis at the borders between the EU and Belarus which causes immense suffering and has led to the deaths of at least ten people.   While we fully condemn the actions of […]

30.11.2021more
Has the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infected the criminal justice system? An HFHR report

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has studied how the coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the broad criminal justice system in Poland since March 2020. The findings of the Foundation’s work have been presented in the report Has the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infected the criminal justice system? HFHR’s report on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected […]

26.11.2021more
Situation on the Polish-Belarusian border

As of August 2021, Poland has experienced a sharp increase in the number of migrants irregularly crossing their external borders from the direction of Belarus. It is a result of the policy implemented by the Belarusian authorities aimed at exerting a political pressure on the EU. Lukashenko’s regime is accused of facilitating arrivals of third […]

24.11.2021more
Opinion of HFHR on the motion of the Public Prosecutor General to declare unconstitutional Art. 6 paragraph 1 of the ECHR

In July 2021, the Public Prosecutor General applied to the Constitutional Tribunal to declare unconstitutional Art. 6 paragraph 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to the extent that said provision relates to the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) and enables the European Court of Human Rights to assess the legality of the election of CT […]

23.11.2021more
Joint Statement on the Sentencing of Two Members of Human Rights Group Viasna in Belarus

Rights Organizations Call on Belarusian Authorities to End Politically Motivated Prosecutions On Wednesday, November 3, the Centraĺny District Court in Homieĺ delivered the verdict in the politically motivated criminal case against two human rights defenders with the Homieĺ branch of Viasna, a leading Belarusian human rights group. The court sentenced the head of Viasna’s Homieĺ […]

03.11.2021more
Belarus: Bar Association should reinstate disbarred lawyer Natalia Matskevich

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) and the Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights of the European Humanity University (CCHR EHU) and the Human Rights Embassy (HRE) (“the undersigned organisations”) call on […]

03.11.2021more
HFHR urges EU Home Affairs Commissioner to address the asylum and humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border in talks with Polish authorities

♦ The HFHR urged EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson to address the issue of the violations of asylum laws and the growing humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border in her communication with the Polish authorities. ♦ According to information from NGOs and the media, there are serious violations of asylum laws and the non-refoulment […]

28.09.2021more
On the side of the law. An analysis of the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border

Due to the migration situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights today published a legal analysis of the situation of foreigners repatriated by Polish Border Guard officers from Poland to Belarus. What’s next for the Usnarz group? For over four weeks, a group of 32 foreigners from Afghanistan has been staying […]

23.09.2021more
The draft amendment of the Act on Foreigners and the Act on Granting Them Protection violate EU asylum law principles – legal opinion of the HFHR

♦ The draft amendment to the Act on Foreigners and the Act on Granting them Protection in the Territory of Poland violate EU asylum law principles. The statutes may also be used to illegally expel from Polish territory foreigners who qualify for international protection – according to the HFHR legal analysis. ♦ The explanatory memorandum […]

23.09.2021more
Belarus: International human rights groups demand release of Viasna members on first anniversary of crackdown

On the first anniversary of the unprecedented crackdown on the Human Rights Center Viasna (“Viasna”) in Belarus, 23 international and Belarusian human rights organizations are launching a campaign to demand the release of seven detained Viasna members, and highlight the plight of hundreds of others, who have been prosecuted and jailed solely for exercising their […]

17.09.2021more
A tool of the government. The functioning of the Polish Constitutional Court in 2016-2021

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights published a report on the functioning of the Constitutional Court. The report describes the work of the Constitutional Court in years 2016-2021.   The role of the Constitutional Court   Before 2017, the Constitutional Court was a crucial element of the human rights protection system in Poland. The Court was the only body entitled to examine the compatibility of laws with the Constitution. Decisions issued by the Constitutional Court used to have a decisive impact on fundamental rights protection and the development of standards of a democratic state.   The constitutional crisis in Poland  The constitutional crisis in Poland resulted directly from legislative changes regarding the […]

15.09.2021more
HFHR’s position statement on the Prosecutor General’s request for the constitutional review of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights submitted to the Polish Constitutional Court

For almost 30 years, the European Convention on Human Rights has been a cornerstone of the protection of the rights and freedoms of Polish citizens. The European Court of Human Rights has decided several Polish cases involving such fundamental issues as the right to life, personal liberty, the right to a fair trial, freedom of […]

04.08.2021more
Statement on the mounting repression against Belarusian lawyers and the disbarment of Dmitriy Laevski

More than 50 leading lawyers’ organizations, promoting the standards of rule of law and human rights have signed a joint letter on the continuing repressions against lawyers in Belarus and on the disbarment of Dmitriy Laevski. The statement was prepared by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Right, OMCT, Article 19 in partnership with the Council […]

02.08.2021more
Belarus: UN experts will examine the arbitrary detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich

29 July 2021 – Brussels, London, Oslo, Warsaw, Paris and Geneva – Last week seven human rights organisations submitted a complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the case of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich. Mr Pratasevich has been held in arbitrary and inhuman conditions since 23 May 2021. As it is not […]

29.07.2021more
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 […]

26.07.2021more
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 […]

05.07.2021more
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 […]

16.06.2021more
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 […]

17.05.2021more
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, […]

11.05.2021more
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 […]

07.05.2021more
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 […]

27.04.2021more
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 […]

27.04.2021more
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 […]

16.04.2021more
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 […]

30.03.2021more
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 […]

28.03.2021more
“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 […]

15.03.2021more
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 […]

04.03.2021more
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 […]

04.03.2021more
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 […]

26.02.2021more
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 […]

22.02.2021more
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 […]

19.02.2021more
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 […]

16.02.2021more
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 […]

15.01.2021more
The Intersessional meeting of the Human Rights Council regarding the situation in Belarus

The Intersessional meeting of the Human Rights Council regarding the situation in Belarus took place on December 4, 2020, in Geneva. In accordance with Council Resolution 45/1 ‘Situation of human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath,’ the High Commissioner Michelle Blachelet, speaking at the meeting, presented […]

21.12.2020more
HFHR submits amicus curiae brief to ECtHR in the case of a Polish judge

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Żurek v. Poland. ♦ The applicant, judge Waldemar Żurek, complains that his rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights were violated as a result of early termination of his […]

06.11.2020more
A judgment in Strasbourg is not the end! Latest report confirms persisting problems with national execution of ECtHR judgments

♦ This year marks the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which was signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome. ♦ The Convention guarantees everyone’s fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of assembly, thought, conscience and religion, the right to liberty and security of person, the prohibition of discrimination […]

06.11.2020more
Human rights in Belarus. HFHR has submitted a report to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

On 30 October 2020, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted a report on the situation with lawyers in Belarus to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights under the Human Rights Council Resolution 45/1 entitled “Situation of Human Rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential Election […]

05.11.2020more
Belarus: Criminal defamation case against editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva Yahor Martsinovich must be dropped

The undersigned organisations call for the Belarusian authorities to drop their criminal defamation lawsuit against editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva, Yahor Martsinovich and to immediately release him from custody. On 23 September 2020, Yahor Martsinovich was taken to the Investigative Committee after his apartment had been searched by the police. His detention is linked to the […]

25.09.2020more
82 leading human rights organizations, bar associations and lawyers from more than 20 countries have signed an Open Statement in connection with the detention of Belarusian lawyers Ilya Salei and Maksim Znak

September 10, 2020 We express our deep concern at the detention of lawyers Ilya Salei and Maksim Znak on September 9, 2020, in Belarus, in a criminal case which is undeniably politically motivated. We consider this to be a gross violation of professional rights and privileges and improper interference with their professional legal activities and […]

11.09.2020more
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights joins proceedings concerning Random Case Allocation System

The Supreme Administrative Court has allowed the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights to intervene in a case concerning access to the source code of a program that randomly allocates trials to judges of common courts. The HFHR applied for the court’s leave to intervene in the proceedings in May 2020. The proceedings in the case […]

09.09.2020more
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights as an amicus curiae – the report

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a report summarising the crucial role of the institution of amicus curiae in its practice. The report presents the key cases pending in 2018-2019 before Polish courts, the ECtHR and courts of countries of Central Asia in which the Helsinki Foundation has submitted its amicus curiae […]

04.09.2020more
Strasbourg: a new destination on the road towards the rule of law? A report on “Polish” cases before the European Court of Human Rights

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a report by Dr Katarzyna Wiśniewska and Dr Marcin Szwed on rule of law cases brought against Poland before the European Court of Human Rights. ♦ The authors identify the key ECtHR standards relevant to the protection of the rule of law (and specifically of the […]

04.09.2020more
European governments must call on the UN to conduct an immediate investigation into human rights abuses in Belarus

We, the undersigned members of the network of Human Rights Houses, urge European governments to call on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to immediately launch an international commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Belarus in relation to the 9 August presidential elections.   The challenges facing Belarus in […]

26.08.2020more
Appeal by members of the Civic Solidarity Platform

The undersigned organizations, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, express their shock and outrage about the way the 9 August presidential elections in Belarus have been manipulated by the government. We support peaceful protests of Belarusians against this flagrant violation of standards for the conduct of elections agreed in the OSCE. We strongly denounce disproportionate […]

11.08.2020more
Urgent appeal concerning Internet service disruptions in Belarus in the context of the presidential elections of 9 August 2020

We, the undersigned NGOs, bring the information on the disruptions of Internet services in Minsk and other cities of the Republic of Belarus, in the context of the presidential elections of 9 August 2020 to the attention of the mandate holders. After setting out the general context of the limitations on freedom of expression, this […]

10.08.2020more
Legally incapacitated persons must be allowed to vote in EP elections, says HFHR

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has petitioned the Senate to amend the Electoral Code and to allow incapacitated persons to participate in the European Parliament elections. The disenfranchisement of incapacitated persons is contrary to international law and human rights standards. No right to vote without full legal capacity Currently, legally incapacitated persons in Poland […]

05.08.2020more
Chechen refugees unlawfully refused entry at the Terespol border crossing, rules the ECtHR

Chechen asylum seekers, who had repeatedly been refused an opportunity to file an application for international protection by the Border Guard, have successfully challenged Poland before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. On 23 July 2020, the ECtHR delivered the judgment in the case M.K. and Others vs. Poland (applications nos. 40503/17, 42902/17 […]

28.07.2020more
Warsaw’s Court of Appeal dismisses Culture Ministry’s appeal in the case of Malta Festival Poznań, upholding the award of PLN 300,000 to the Malta Foundation

The case of the Ministry’s unpaid subsidy to the Malta Festival has been pending since 2017 when Oliver Frljić was one of the Festival’s curators. The Malta Foundation filed the lawsuit in 2018 represented by attorneys of Hogan Lovells, who agreed to take on the case pro bono following a request from the Helsinki Foundation […]

17.07.2020more
We haven’t changed the selection procedure for ECtHR judges, Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds to the joint proposals of the HFHR and legal professions

♦ 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 21 May 2020, the Helsinki Foundation for Human […]

09.07.2020more
In search of reasonable time… of court proceedings. HFHR launches latest research findings

♦ 7 July 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in Rutkowski and Others v. Poland, a case concerning the excessive length of court proceedings. ♦ In an attempt to assess the changes that have taken place in the justice system in the aftermath of […]

09.07.2020more
CJEU Advocate General: EU law prohibits discrimination within a group of disabled employees

In the opinion of the CJEU Advocate General, EU law prohibits employers from favoring one set of employees over another within a group of disabled employees. The Advocate General’s opinion was issued in a Polish case in which the Kraków Regional Court petitioned the CJEU for a preliminary ruling. The request to refer a question […]

03.07.2020more
COVID-19 crisis threatens democracy, leading world figures warn

More than 500 political, civil leaders, Nobel Laureates and pro-democracy institutions have signed an open letter to defend democracy, warning that the freedoms we cherish are under threat from governments that are using the crisis to tighten their grip on power. The coronavirus pandemic poses serious threats to democracy. Many governments around the world have […]

26.06.2020more
Civic Solidarity Platform Statement – Presidential Campaign 2020 in Belarus: Violence, Threats, Detentions

The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for 9 August 2020. From the very beginning, the election campaign has been held in an atmosphere of fear, constant threats and intimidation. There have been detentions and arrests of members of nomination initiative groups and ordinary voters who participate in peaceful pickets to collect signatures. The deadline […]

24.06.2020more
Access to a lawyer against EU standards – HFHR amends its complaint to the European Commission in response to the recent Covid-19 emergency measures

In February 2020, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights lodged a complaint with the European Commission concerning the absence of proper domestic implementation of the directive of 22 October 2013 on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings. The HFHR decided to prepare a complaint to the European Commission in response to […]

24.06.2020more
ECtHR: the applications of judges denied appointments communicated to Poland

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Polish Government the applications of persons denied judicial appointments by Presidents Lech Kaczyński (in 2008) and Andrzej Duda (in 2016). The applicants claim that Polish authorities have infringed Articles 6, 8 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The proceedings before the ECtHR […]

10.06.2020more
NGOs in 9 EU Countries Request Information and Impact Analysis of Covid-19 Tracing Apps

Human rights organizations in XXX EU countries, members of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) network, are simultaneously filing freedom of information requests to their national authorities regarding the new contact-tracing, symptom-tracking and quarantine-enforcing applications introduced to control the spread of Covid-19. The initiative, first of its kind, aims to ensure that EU governments […]

08.06.2020more
The right to social security assistance of civilians who became disabled as a result of the hostilities in Donbass – HFHR’s Report

♦ Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a report on the right to social security assistance of civilians who became disabled as a result of the hostilities in Donbass. ♦ The authors of the report analyzed current legal situation regarding the right to social security assistance of civilians who became disabled as a result of […]

01.06.2020more
New elections law: new problems. HFHR comments on a law setting special rules for the carrying out of universal elections of the President of Poland

♦ In an opinion presented to the Senate, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has noted that the special electoral law passed by the Lower House (the Sejm) contains measures which undermine the equality of elections and legal certainty. ♦ The Foundation has also expressed concerns over how the electoral packages are to be distributed. […]

25.05.2020more
JUSTICIA’s statement on protecting human rights in places of detention during the Covid-19 crisis

Rights Behind Bars During Covid-19 JUSTICIA recently called for action to address the unjustified and excessive use of pre-trial detention which remains all too common in the EU. In the grip of COVID-19, the need to address overcrowding and systemic rights abuses in Europe’s prisons (unjustified detention and inhumane conditions) has taken on new urgency. Incarcerated people are some of the most vulnerable to infectious […]

18.05.2020more
HFHR comments on all-postal presidential election bill

Possible non-compliance with the principle of universal, secret and personal ballot, the undermined role of the State Electoral Commission (SEC) and numerous inaccuracies and gaps leading to, among other things, inability to specify detailed rules of voting, are among the objections raised by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in its comments to the bill […]

13.05.2020more
HFHR’s leaflet with recommendations to counteract COVID-19 in place of deprivation of liberty and ensure the rights of prisoners

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights prepared a leaflet with recommendations from various documents to help personnel of place of deprivation of liberty to counteract COVID-19 and ensure the rights of prisoners. The information contained in the leaflet will also be useful for NGOs monitoring places of detention. In the leaflet, we emphasize that people […]

29.04.2020more
The Riot in Angarsk Penal Colony: Call to Conduct Public Investigation and Answer the Questions

On 10 April 2020, numerous messages about a riot in the FKU IK-15 (Federal Government Institution, Prison Colony – 15) in Angarsk, Irkutsk region, as well as about the fire in the industrial area there appeared in Russian media, social networks and on YouTube. For subjection of the prisoners, the special forces of Main Directorate […]

24.04.2020more
Access to court in times of a pandemic

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published an analysis on access to court in times of coronavirus outbreak.  The Polish justice system does not widely use means of electronic communication. Due to this fact, when the pandemic-driven restrictions on the operations of the courts were announced, it was impossible to automatically switch to electronic communication between […]

18.04.2020more
Rights of persons deprived of their liberty in the times of the coronavirus

In view of the state of epidemic announced in Poland, the Foundation wishes to draw attention to the situation of persons who have been deprived of their liberty, who are currently incarcerated in penitentiary facilities. From media reports as well as information provided to the Foundation by prisoners and their families, the conditions of detention […]

10.04.2020more
Immediate and effective ceasefire to fight COVID-19: civil society appeal to all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine

Statement of the international civil society platform CivilM+ The coronavirus pandemic impacts every live. One of the most vulnerable in Ukraine are more than three million residents of the armed conflict zone in the east. For six years already, women, men and children live in dire economic conditions, under the threat of shelling or mine-related […]

08.04.2020more
States must combat domestic violence in the context of COVID-19 lockdowns

Restrictive measures adopted worldwide to fight COVID-19 intensify the risk of domestic violence; Governments must uphold the human rights of women and children and come up with urgent measures to the victims of such violence. “It is very likely that rates of widespread domestic violence will increase, as already suggested by initial police and hotline […]

08.04.2020more
Position of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Position of the HFHR on the bill regarding the special principles of holding general elections to the office of President of the Republic of Poland ordered in 2020. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its adamant objection to the bill presented by a group of MPs introducing voting by post in the general election […]

07.04.2020more
Polish NGO’s call on Council of Ministers to introduce state of emergency

The current situation in Poland and the world is unprecedented, even for the last few decades. The coronavirus pandemic has paralysed social and public life in nearly every aspect. What is more, there are solid grounds to believe that the peak is still ahead of us, as confirmed by new infections reported every day. As […]

26.03.2020more
CPT’s Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for the authorities of all member States of the Council of Europe. In the CPT’s view, all authorities should take all possible action to protect the health and safety of all persons deprived of their liberty. Protective measures must never result in inhuman or degrading treatment of […]

24.03.2020more
Appeal by European NGOs involved in the field of prison health and in the defence of the right to health protection for prisoners

The signatory organisations, which are involved on a daily basis in the protection of the right to health of prisoners, are alarmed at the unpreparedness of penitentiary administrations to deal with the spread of the coronavirus on the continent and, in most countries, the lack of consideration of the specific situation of prisons in national […]

19.03.2020more
European Court of Human Rights is taking exceptional measures

The European Court of Human Rights is taking a number of exceptional measures to respond to the unprecedented global health crisis, having regard to the recent decisions of the French authorities and the Council of Europe. The Court’s essential activities will in principle be maintained and especially the handling of priority cases. For that purpose, […]

18.03.2020more
Polish NGOs voice on AMIF – new perspective

A group of civil society organizations from Poland has submitted a letter to Director of DG Migration and Home Affairs about new financial perspective providing funding in the areas of legal migration, asylum and integration of migrants, which is currently under consideration.   Download:  Full letter

13.03.2020more
Poland yet to execute ECtHR judgments on the “Polish” CIA prisons. HFHR sends a communication to CoE Committee of Ministers

♦ In March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will consider Poland’s implementation of the ECtHR Al Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah judgments. ♦ According to the HFHR, given the current state of affairs, it is not yet possible to conclude that the ECtHR judgments issued in cases involving CIA secret prisons in […]

04.03.2020more
Accountability for police violence – a systemic problem. HFHR sends a communication to CoE Committee of Ministers

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, commenting on the case Bednarz v. Poland, which involves charges of violent behaviour made against police officers. In the Foundation’s opinion, the measures implemented by Poland to execute the judgment are insufficient. ♦ According to the […]

04.03.2020more
Judgment in the case of a Romanian held in pre-trial detention for 14 months

♦ On a hearing held on 2 March, a court pronounced judgment in the case of a Romanian national detained at the Warsaw airport and held in pre-trial detention for 14 months on the basis of Interpol’s red notice, who demanded compensation for his moral and financial losses from Polish criminal justice authorities. ♦ In […]

04.03.2020more
The new Pact on Asylum and Migration: An opportunity seized or squandered?

After years of treating asylum and migration in crisis mode, we believe the proposed Pact on Asylum and Migration is an opportunity for the EU and its Member States to change direction. It is an opportunity to develop a rational and rights-based asylum and migration policy. Recent cooperation among Member States signals the possibility of […]

21.02.2020more
HFHR Report: Rule by law replaced the rule of law. Threats to human rights in Poland, 2015-2019

The years 2015-2019 saw the greatest decline in human rights protection in Poland after 1989. Despite the lack of a sufficient vote to amend the Constitution, the ruling majority introduced a number of changes to the state system, endangering the rule of law and the principle of the triple division of powers. With laws being […]

19.02.2020more
Poland yet to comply with ECtHR judgments on access to abortion

♦ In March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will consider Poland’s implementation of the ECtHR judgment in cases concerning access to abortion. ♦ According to the HFHR, the current legislation still does not guarantee effective access to legal abortion. The Committee of Ministers is a body of the Council of Europe […]

19.02.2020more
No transcription of LGBT parents child’s birth certificate

♦ It is impossible to transcribe a foreign birth certificate in which two women are listed as parents, ruled the Supreme Administrative Court. The ruling follows the line of authority expressed in a SAC resolution from December 2019. ♦ The HFHR participated in the proceedings. The case concerned the refusal to transcribe the birth certificate […]

19.02.2020more
Supreme Court upholds conviction of Piotr M. HFHR application awaits hearing in Strasbourg

♦ The Supreme Court ruled on the Ombudsman’s cassation appeal, upholding the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Łódź issued in the high-profile case of Piotr M., a man with an intellectual disability convicted of double homicide. ♦ For more than 6 years, Piotr’s case has been handled by Innocence, the HFHR-operated programme devoted […]

11.02.2020more
Position statement of the Helsinki Committee

There are no human rights without independent courts. The law disciplining judges aims to limit the independence of the courts, whereas Article 173 of the Constitution stipulates that the courts “shall be a separate authority, independent from other branches of government”. No human rights will be upheld, and no minority will be protected without independent […]

11.02.2020more
Poland under PACE’s monitoring

The Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution concerning the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland. The adoption of the resolution ends 4-year proceedings focusing on rule of law developments in Poland, however at the same time, the resolution opens full monitoring proceedings of Poland. Currently, the monitoring proceeding is applied to […]

10.02.2020more
More and more persons detained pending trial. HFHR sends communication to CoE Committee of Ministers

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, commenting on the case Mierzejewski v. Poland. In the Foundation’s opinion, the measures implemented by Poland to execute the Mierzejewski judgment are insufficient. ♦ According to the HFHR, pre-trial detention is used too often in Poland […]

30.01.2020more
ECtHR to hear another defective judicial appointment case. HFHR explains causes of Polish constitutional crisis in amicus curiae brief

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the European Court of Human Rights in the case Xero Flor v. Poland. The Xero Flor case is the first one in which the Strasbourg Court will have to decide whether the defective appointment of a person to sit in the Constitutional […]

30.01.2020more
Sports and human rights. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights launches new project

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is launching Sports and Human Rights, a project dedicated to the study and identification of human rights standards that could help in the development of new regulations in sports. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Centre for Sports Law, Faculty of Law, University of Warsaw, and […]

30.01.2020more
Statement of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Events of recent days, including, above all, the clearly unfounded request submitted by the Speaker of the Sejm to the Constitutional Court in a matter allegedly involving “a dispute of competence”, a number of statements made by key politicians of the ruling parliamentary majority, which demonstrate their ignorance of the principle of the triple division […]

30.01.2020more
Press conference before March of a Thousand Robe

Where: Supreme Court HQ (Main Hall), plac Krasińskich 2/4/6, Warsaw When: January 11th, 14:00 We invite you to a press conference to comment on “March of a Thousand Robes” – a silent march against the government’s court reforms, which include strict new disciplinary measures against judges. In press conference will take part polish judges (organizers […]

10.01.2020more
Rule of law threatened by defective judicial appointments. HFHR submits amicus curiae brief in Ástráðsson v. Iceland

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ástráðsson v. Iceland concerning the impact of irregularities in judicial appointments on the individual’s right to a court. Proceedings in the case are pending before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR, […]

07.01.2020more
Court to reopen printing discrimination case. HFHR: CJEU’s ruling needed

♦ On 30 December 2019, the Court of Appeal in Łódź will consider a motion for the reopening of proceedings in the case of a printer from Łódź who refused to produce a roll-up for an LGBT organization. ♦ The prosecution service moved to quash the printer’s conviction. ♦ The HFHR has submitted an amicus […]

03.01.2020more
HFHR reviews “repressive law” against judges

Restrictions on the self-governance capacity of the judicial profession and judges’ freedom to adjudicate, creation of measures to project the chilling effect on judges and provision of the current parliamentary majority with means to influence the election of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – these are the key changes that the recently proposed […]

03.01.2020more
Joint Statement on recent attacks in Kyrgyzstan against local journalists, lawyers, and activists

Civil Rights Defenders, along with the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Partnership for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights – urge Kyrgyz authorities to take all steps provided under the national law to guarantee protection to journalists, lawyers, and activists. The recent pressure against civil society members stems […]

23.12.2019more
No control over surveillance by Polish intelligence agencies. ECHR demands explanations from the government

The European Court of Human Rights demanded the Polish government to provide an explanation on surveillance by intelligence agencies. It’s a result of complaints filed with the Strasbourg court in late 2017 and early 2018 by activists from Panoptykon Foundation and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights as well as attorney Mr. Mikołaj Pietrzak. The attorney […]

18.12.2019more
Court of Appeal: no interim injunction in libel case. HFHR files amicus curiae brief

♦ The Court of Appeal in Warsaw has reversed a decision of the first instance court and dismissed the motion for an interim injunction prohibiting Mariusz Zielke’s publications about Krzysztof Sadowski. ♦ Mr Zielke initially received a one-year ban on disseminating information on the paedophile acts allegedly committed by Mr Sadowski, imposed in September by […]

17.12.2019more
Helsinki Committee issues statement on proposed law disciplining judges

We, the members of the Helsinki Committee in Poland, strongly object to the manifestly unconstitutional bill that seeks to abolish the independence and dignity of the Judicial Offices. The bill, tabled by Law and Justice Parliamentarians on the exact anniversary of the introduction of Martial Law in Poland, is consistent with the rhetoric of this […]

17.12.2019more
Invitation for the press conference „Today the judges – tomorrow you”

Where: Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Zgoda 11, Warsaw When: December 18, 12:00 On Wendesday, December 18 at 18:00 demonstrations against the bill proposed by the members of Law and Justice (parliamentary document no 69) will be held all over Poland and in front of the Sejm building. The bill codifies repressions against the judges […]

16.12.2019more
No nursing benefit for premature retiree. Case goes to Strasbourg

♦ A carer for an adult with a disability is unable to claim a nursing benefit on account of receiving a minimum early retirement pension.   ♦ Helsinki Foundation lawyers say the carer has been discriminated against. The case was brought before the European Court of Human Rights. ♦ The ECtHR application was drafted by […]

12.12.2019more
Amicus curiae: achievements, prospects, challenges

The international conference Amicus Curiae: Achievements, Perspectives, Challenges took place on 14-15 October 2019. The conference aimed to promote the institution of amicus curiae, present best practices regarding the application of the amicus curiae mechanism in domestic and international proceedings, discuss existing problems and challenges related to the application of this legal instrument, as well […]

12.12.2019more
Open Letter to the President of the European Commission regarding Poland’s disciplinary regime for judges and the urgent need for interim measures in Commission v Poland (C-791/19)

Ever since the European Commission initiated a third infringement procedure in respect to the recurrent attacks on the rule of law by Polish authorities last April, the situation has continued to seriously deteriorate. We have now reached the unprecedented and frightening stage where Polish judges are being subject to harassment tactics in the form of […]

11.12.2019more
Liberties launches petition calling on Google and IAB to stop breaching privacy

The Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) launched the petition ‘Your Data. Your Business.’ today calling on Google and IAB Europe, the standard-setters of the online advertising industry, to change real-time bidding (RTB) and develop a data protection-friendly solution for online advertising.  In real-time bidding, users’ personal data – including gender, age, location, and browsing […]

09.12.2019more
Strasbourg Court to rule on prematurely dismissed judge member of Polish Judiciary Council. HFHR submits amicus curiae brief

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief with the European Court of Human Rights in the case Grzęda v. Poland. ♦ The case concerns a judge elected to the National Council of the Judiciary whose term of office has been early terminated. ♦ The judge complains he could not […]

02.12.2019more
Richard Gere visits Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

On 18 November, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights hosted a meeting attended by Richard Gere, an American actor and a long-standing advocate for human rights, in particular in Tibet. Mr Gere is the chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet and was invited to Warsaw by the HFHR. The event was an opportunity for […]

25.11.2019more
HFHR comments Judge Czubieniak’s case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented a position statement on the appeal against the disciplinary judgment imposed on judge Alina Czubieniak. Given the unclear legal status of the Court’s Disciplinary Chamber, the letter was addressed to the President of the Supreme Court. Alina Czubieniak is a judge of the Regional Court in Gorzów […]

25.11.2019more
CJEU judgment: common position of civil society organisations

Today, thirteen NGOs presented a report on the impact of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 19 November 2019, in which the CJEU ruled on the status of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary. The signatory NGOs noted that the […]

25.11.2019more
Civil suit by Law and Justice Party (plaintiff) against Professor Wojciech Sadurski

Civil suit by Prawo i Sprawiedliwość i.e. Law and Justice Party (plaintiff) against Professor Wojciech Sadurski (University of Sydney and University of Warsaw). Case number II C21/19, suit lodged on 21 January 2019 in the District Court for Warsaw, 2nd Civil Law Department. Court hearing set for 27 November 2019 at 9:00 am, Warsaw, District […]

22.11.2019more
Report on the situation of legal profession in Belarus

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, in partnership with the World Organization Against Torture, prepared a report on the situation of legal profession in Belarus. This report is being submitted to the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

19.11.2019more
Court: journalist transferred to archives for upholding professional integrity was discriminated against

The District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw issued a judgment in the case of Dorota Nygren, a journalist working for the Radio Information Agency, who brought a lawsuit against the state radio broadcaster Polskie Radio alleging discrimination in employment. The Court found that Polskie Radio had infringed the principles of equal treatment vis-à-vis […]

19.11.2019more
Administrative court revokes Government’s decision to expel Azamat Bayduev following HFHR’s intervention

♦ The Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw has revoked the decision of the Minister of the Interior and Administration which ordered the return of Azamat Bayduev to Russia. HFHR intervened in the proceedings. ♦ The Foundation claims that the foreigner has not been provided with basic procedural guarantees during the expulsion proceedings. This was a […]

19.11.2019more
A Strasbourg judgment is not the end – second edition of a report on the execution of ECtHR judgments

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published the second edition of its report on the execution of judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights. A Strasbourg judgment is not the end Following the delivery of a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers […]

19.11.2019more
Freedom of assembly before Polish courts. HFHR’s case monitoring report

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a report entitled Freedom of Assembly in the Practice of Polish Courts, which presents an analysis of the monitoring of court proceedings brought against citizens participating in public assemblies. The report covers the findings of 250 monitoring sessions held in 142 cases. Monitoring was carried out in […]

19.11.2019more
Implementation of Strasbourg Court judgments: a shared responsibility

How can a multi-stakeholder alliance promote the implementation of judgments in Poland? EIN partners with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Open Society Justice Initiative to find answers.

15.11.2019more
HFHR intervenes on behalf of inmate of Gostynin psychiatric facility

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent an intervention letter to the head of the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissocial Behaviours (NCPDB) asking for information on the actions taken by the Centre administrators to ensure the safety of a woman involuntarily placed in this facility. The letter was inspired by the article […]

06.11.2019more
Documentarian refused entry to Polish Parliament, HFHR brings case to ECtHR

♦ The HFHR and lawyers of Leśnodorski, Ślusarek i Wspólnicy have drafted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Konrad Szołajski, a filmmaker who was denied entry to the Parliament. Mr Szołajski wanted to film the parliamentary grounds and use the recordings in a documentary he was working on at […]

22.10.2019more
HFHR reviews citizen-sponsored proposal to amend Criminal Code

Insufficient adherence to international standards, unjustified interference in freedom of expression and violation of the principle that criminal law must be a measure of last resort – these are the key criticisms made by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights against a citizen-sponsored legislative proposal to amend the Criminal Code in the legal opinion reviewing […]

22.10.2019more
Civil society coalition denounces attack on the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

♦ Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) issued a statement in which, the coalition condemns the recent attack on the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and express’ support nad solidarity with the BHC. ♦ Moreover, HFHR has submitted a letter to the Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Poland, in which HFHR calls on Bulgarian […]

02.10.2019more
Civil procedure rules on instructions must be streamlined, HFHR writes to CoE Committee of Ministers

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers referring to the execution of the ECtHR judgments entered in Parol v. Poland (application no. 65379/13) and Adamkowski v. Poland (application no. 57814/12). ♦ In the judgments, delivered in 2018 and 2019, the ECtHR held that […]

27.09.2019more
Amended Code of Execution of Criminal Sentences fails to address issues related to personal searches, HFHR writes to CoE Committee of Ministers

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers referring to the execution of the ECtHR judgments entered in Milka v. Poland (application no. 14322/12) and Dejnek v. Poland (application no. 9635/13). ♦ In the judgments, delivered in 2015 and 2017, the ECtHR held that […]

27.09.2019more
HFHR’s communication to Committee of Ministers: Poland fails to address lengthy proceedings

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a communication to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers referring to the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment issued in Rutkowski and Others v. Poland (application no. 72287/10). ♦ The case of Wiesław Rutkowski concerns the excessive length of court proceedings in […]

18.09.2019more
HFHR writes to Health Minister, alarmed by situation in A&E departments

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Minister of Health addressing irregularities in hospital accident and emergency wards in the Silesia Province and referring to the consequent review of the Supreme Audit Office. ♦ The Foundation emphasised that the right to health care, itself stemming from the right to […]

10.09.2019more
HFHR asks Education Ministry about students with disabilities

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has approached the Ministry of Education regarding access to education for students with disabilities. ♦ A report published by the Supreme Audit Office in 2018 showed significant deficits in the provision of adequate support to this category of students. ♦ The HFHR asked the Education Minister what measures […]

10.09.2019more
Recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the effective measures to combat racism and discrimination

♦ On 6 August, the HFHR’s expert participated in the session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that monitors Poland’s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. ♦ The Foundation has submitted an alternative report – the HFHR’s expert talked about xenophobic and racist […]

05.09.2019more
Has Poland fully executed ECtHR’s judgment on Chechen family’s detention? HFHR’s communication to CoE’s Committee of Ministers

♦ In September, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will address, among other issues, the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Currently, the Committee supervises the execution of judgments in 94 Polish cases, including Bistieva v. Poland. ♦ The HFHR has communicated to the Committee its opinion on Poland’s report […]

05.09.2019more
HFHR’s communication to Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers: Polish authorities are still failing to address lengthy pre-trial detention

♦ In September, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will again discuss the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Currently, the Committee supervises the execution of judgments in 94 “Polish” cases. One of them is the judgment in Burża v. Poland, the case involving the issue of long-term pre-trial […]

04.09.2019more
HFHR intervenes in child and adolescent psychiatry cases

♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Minister of Health in which it expresses concerns regarding recent media reports on the problem of inadequate psychiatric care provided to minors.  ♦ The Foundation also intervened in cases of three incidents that took place at the Professor Tadeusz Bilikiewicz Provincial Psychiatric […]

20.08.2019more
JUSTICIA European Rights Network Pre-trial statement on amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure

The full text of the statement below: Dear Mr President, On 19 July 2019 the Polish Parliament adopted an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP). According to the authors of the amendment, its adoption was justified by a need to accelerate criminal proceedings and guarantee that criminal cases will be processed within a […]

14.08.2019more
Elderly prison inmates: amicus curiae brief sent to ECtHR

The HFHR has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the European Court of Human Rights, addressing the case started by the application of an 80-year-old woman who was held in pre-trial detention for almost two years. The applicant complained that her detention, which had been carried out in a facility not adapted to the needs […]

13.08.2019more
Republic of Fear: HFHR’s report on human rights abuses in Chechnya

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has launched the report Republic of fear. Human rights in modern-day Chechnya. The document describes the situation of Chechen asylum-seekers in their home country, providing what is known as the “Country of Origin Information” (COI). The document is based on interviews with experts and public domain sources of information […]

13.08.2019more
Obstruction of journalist’s reporting of demonstration. HFHR submits amicus curiae brief

♦ The HFHR has filed an amicus curiae brief before the Regional Court in Kraków in a case concerning the conduct of several participants of a monthly commemoration of the Smolensk catastrophe towards a journalist reporting on the event, Gazeta Wyborcza’s Paweł Figurski.

06.08.2019more
European NGOs submit a joint amicus curiae brief to ECtHR in a case involving the confirmation of Polish citizenship for a child of a same-sex couple

International organisations intervene in the case of a child of a same-sex couple. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, together with the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe), the Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations (NELFA), The Child Rights International Network (CRIN) and the Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination […]

06.08.2019more
An amicus curiae brief to the ECtHR on special needs education

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Forum for Human Rights have submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Strasbourg Court in a case brought against Romania, which concerns a student with special educational needs. The brief emphasised that students with disabilities faced difficulties in exercising their right to education not only in Romania […]

01.08.2019more
HFHR’s study on immigration detention of families for UNHCR

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published the results of a study commissioned by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), covering the period 2016-2017.

30.07.2019more
HFHR launches report on pre-trial detention

A recent report published by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, The Trials of Pre-trial Detention, presents statistical data and case law on the titular topic. The report demonstrates that the problem of abuse of pre-trial detention in Poland, highlighted by the European Court of Human Rights already a decade ago, is yet to be […]

30.07.2019more
HFHR responds to attacks on LGBTQI

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is strongly opposed to attacks on LGBTQI people, attacks that have been steadily increasing in the public sphere in Poland in recent months.

29.07.2019more
HFHR’s report: The Time of Trial. How do changes in justice system affect Polish judges?

Changes in justice system introduced over the last four years are used, to a large extent, to increase pressure on judges, the HFHR’s study “The Time of Trial. How do changes in justice system affect Polish judges?” shows. The study identified five main forms of the pressure currently being exerted on judges: attempts to influence […]

24.07.2019more
HFHR intervenes in case of detention of father with two children

♦ The HFHR has participated as a social organisation in the proceedings pending before the District Court in Biała Podlaska. The case involves an extension of immigration detention of a single father with two children. ♦ According to the HFHR, immigration detention centres, which are oppressive, quasi-prison facilities, are not an appropriate place for children. […]

23.07.2019more
Friends of court, HFHR and Citizens’ Watch launch joint project

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and St. Petersburg-based NGO Citizens’ Watch have launched a joint project, The promotion of Polish experiences in the use of amicus curiae opinions as an instrument for strengthening legal activities – a programme for Russia.

23.07.2019more
ECtHR Grand Chamber hears mass surveillance case

On 10 July the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR held a hearing in the case Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom, initiated by three joined applications concerning mass surveillance carried out by state authorities. The applications were the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s reports on mass surveillance by the US authorities, conducted in […]

17.07.2019more
Ground-breaking lawsuit targets living conditions at post-penal psychiatric facility

♦ A client of the HFHR (to protect his anonymity, we’ll call him Joe in this article) has filed a lawsuit against the State Treasury, seeking damages for violations of personal interests and the cessation of further violations, which arise from the living conditions at the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissocial Behaviours.

15.07.2019more
Supreme Court: dismissed religion teacher correctly reinstated to work

On 3 July 2019, the Supreme Court found that Piotr Janowicz’s had been correctly and lawfully reinstated in a teaching position.

15.07.2019more
Are social housing flats fit for habitation? HFHR asks Ministry

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has been approached by clients who describe the appalling conditions of their social housing units. The clients tell stories of many families living in flats unfit for housing purposes, some of them described as mould-infested dumps with walls leaking water. Often, social housing units have shared toilets and no […]

04.07.2019more
HFHR launches report on harassment at universities

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published the report Harassment at Polish State Universities, which presents an analysis of the phenomenon of harassment, including sexual harassment, at Polish higher education institutions. The studies and analyses presented in the report were conducted in 2018 and 2019. The document also contains results of surveys carried out […]

04.07.2019more
HFHR approaches prosecutor regarding murder suspect’s right to lawyer

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter to the Circuit Prosecutor of Świdnica concerning a man suspected of murdering a 10-year-old Kristina in Mrowiny. The Foundation decided to intervene in this case when the media reported that no defence lawyer had been appointed for the suspect. In its letter, the HFHR asks […]

26.06.2019more
HFHR responds to smear campaign against Polish Ombudsman

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its strongest protest against the political and media attacks on Dr Adam Bodnar, the Commissioner for Human Rights.

26.06.2019more
Last hearing in case of Igor Stachowiak’s death in police custody

♦ The judgment: all police officers are guilty. The officer who used the stun device on the victim was sentenced to 30 months in prison, the remaining officers involved received 24-month sentences. ♦ At the hearing, the HFHR presented a position statement, pointing to, inter alia, the standards developed by the European Court of Human […]

26.06.2019more
HFHR comments on Justice Ministry’s announced lawsuit against Kraków’s University professors

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights strongly protests against the Ministry of Justice’s plans to bring lawsuits against academics from the Jagiellonian University. The lawsuits are, as the Ministry has said, a response to untrue statements expressed in a white paper on a proposed amendment to the Criminal Code and other laws.

18.06.2019more
Standards of prosecutorial independence – amicus curiae brief presented to ECtHR in Laura Kövesi

Laura Codruța Kövesi held the post of the Prosecutor General of Romania from 2006 to 2012. Between 2013 and 2018 she served as the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate. During her term in office, the Directorate significantly increased its effectiveness in detecting corruption offences, including among high-ranking politicians or judges and prosecutors. In […]

18.06.2019more
HFHR addresses state of Polish paediatric mental health care

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights strongly condemns the many years of neglect in the area of psychiatric care for children. It is absolutely unacceptable for underage patients to have to stay in the same ward with adult patients because of a lack of money for specialised institutions for children. This practice may not only […]

18.06.2019more
HFHR on prohibition of Rzeszów Equality March

♦ On 5 June, the Mayor of Rzeszów banned the holding of the local Equality March. ♦ The organizer of the March challenged the Mayor’s decision by appealing to the Regional Court in Rzeszów. ♦ The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights submitted an amicus curiae brief in this case. ♦ On 8 June, the Regional […]

11.06.2019more
Top administrative court decides cases of foreigners named “security risk”

The first in a string of similar cases recently decided by the Supreme Administrative Court concerned the forced return of Ameer Alkhawlany, an Iraqi citizen and former PhD student of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In April 2017 he was deported from Poland based on classified information which allegedly showed that Mr Alkhawlany was a […]

07.06.2019more
Administrative court rules on transcription of LGBT family child’s birth certificate

♦ The Provincial Administrative Court in Kraków has decided the case involving the transcription of a foreign birth certificate in which two women are listed as parents. The court ruled that the Head of a Register Office correctly implemented the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court by registering the birth certificate in the Polish civil […]

07.06.2019more
Strengthening the role of CSOs in rule of law monitoring

It is impossible to fully monitor the rule of law protection without an active inclusion of the civil society organizations – urge Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Hungarian Helsinki Committee in their joint opinion on the latest EC’s Rule of Law Communication.

07.06.2019more
Letter to Senate’s Speaker addresses amendments to Criminal Code

“The amendments to the Criminal Code that are currently legislated in the Senate of the Republic of Poland are an example of an ill-considered, hasty regulation aimed at achieving a short-term publicity effect, and not a permanent improvement of the law governing the prosecution of persons committing crimes against children. These amendments do not address […]

28.05.2019more
HFHR responds to arrests of Greenpeace activists

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its concern over the behaviour of police officers during the arrests of Greenpeace activists on 14 May 2019. As media reports suggest, this case could involve a possible excess of police powers.

28.05.2019more
Protection of fundamental rights and access to legal aid for remand prisoners in the EU

From September 2017 until April 2019, the CNRS (Laboratories SAGE (Strasbourg), CESDIP (Saint Quentin en Yvelines)) and the European Prison Litigation Network coordinated a research project on the protection of fundamental rights and access to legal aid for remand prisoners in the European Union, together with partner universities and NGOs from nine European countries

28.05.2019more
Shot on duty and without benefits?

The HFHR has presented an amicus curiae brief to the Regional Court in Lublin in a case concerning the reduction of the disability allowance of Wojciech, a former officer of the Communist-era police.

24.05.2019more
HFHR protests against police monitoring of Tell No One screenings

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is concerned over the reports that the police monitors all public screenings of Tell No One, the recently released documentary on child abuse by Catholic priests.

24.05.2019more
HFHR issues statement on arrest of Elżbieta Podleśna

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its protest against the early morning arrest of Elżbieta Podleśna. According to the police, the Płock-based social activist Elżbieta Podleśna put up posters featuring the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa with a rainbow flag halo, which, according to the law enforcement authorities, may constitute the offence of […]

19.05.2019more
Driver’s license seized… by mistake. Judgment of appellate court

On 7 May 2019, a Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by the State Treasury Solicitors’ Office in the case of Maciej Kwiatkowski*, a man whose driving licence was seized as he was falsely charged with drunk driving.

19.05.2019more
Helsinki Initiative for Human Rights mobilises to debunk fake news about EP elections

For several years now, there has been increasing public discussion about attempts to influence national political situation voters’ decision through social media disinformation campaigns. In the context of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is launching a campaign to identify false information repeated by MEP candidates. We are […]

19.05.2019more
Incapacitated persons will vote in European Elections, says court in landmark ruling

The District Court in Nowy Sącz ordered an incapacitated person to be entered in the voters register, reversing the previous negative decision of the city’s mayor. The court found that the blanket deprivation of the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament of partially incapacitated persons violates the European Convention on Human Rights, […]

26.04.2019more
Administrative court to rule on transcription of birth certificate of child raised in LGBT family

The Provincial Administrative Court in Kraków will hear a prosecutor’s complaint against the transcription of a foreign birth certificate in which two women are listed as parents. In October 2018, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed held that this kind of transcription was admissible. The HFHR has entered its appearance and applied for a leave to […]

18.04.2019more
HFHR report: access to asylum procedure at Poland’s external borders. Current state of affairs and future challenges

A recently published report of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, entitled Access to Asylum Procedure at the external borders of Poland. Current State of Affairs and Future Challenges, discusses access to the asylum procedure at the Eastern border of Poland.

18.04.2019more
HFHR responds to suspicions of Police violence

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed concern about the discontinuance of proceedings against the police officers who, as Paweł Stefaniak alleges, might have abused their powers during Mr Stefaniak’s arrest.

09.04.2019more
Nowy Sącz court to hear case on incapacitated persons’ right to vote in European parliamentary elections

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Clifford Chance conducts proceedings in a case of a person with the “partially incapacitated” legal status who has been deprived of his right to vote in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. The case was started with a complaint filed on 4 April 2019 to the District […]

09.04.2019more
Malta Festival Poznań case: court orders Ministry to pay subsidy of 300,000 zloty

The Regional Court in Warsaw has awarded the Malta Foundation the amount of PLN 300,000 plus interest to be paid from the State Treasury represented by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage on account of the unpaid dedicated subsidy originally granted in 2017 for the organisation of that year’s Malta Festival Poznań.

09.04.2019more
HFHR workshops in Armenia

In March, HFHR trainers Aleksandra Iwanowska and Dr Agnieszka Kłosowska led a training course on the monitoring of facilities for persons with mental disorders, persons with an intellectual disability and for the elderly in Yerevan, Armenia. The course was co-organised by the Open Society Foundations. The event was attended by members of two monitoring groups […]

02.04.2019more
Artistic freedom at risk? Malta Foundation’s action against Ministry goes to trial

On 25 March, a Warsaw court will hold the first hearing in the case brought by the Malta Foundation against the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage on account of the Ministry’s failure to pay a PLN 300,000 dedicated subsidy for the 2017 Malta Festival Poznań. The Foundation is represented by attorneys with Hogan Lovells, […]

21.03.2019more
Utility of passenger cars? Application to ECtHR

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a case concerning tax laws. The application alleges that by basing a tax authority’s decision on insufficiently precise provisions, Poland may have breached the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding respect for the right […]

13.03.2019more
Article 13: controversial provision of Copyright Directive

The European Parliament is about to vote in a plenary session on the final wording of the Copyright Directive. A substantial controversy is raised by its Article 13, which introduces the obligation to filter the content posted by users of online services on the pretences of providing protection of users’ rights.

13.03.2019more
Crimea: another anniversary of events of 26 February

Five years have passed since the events that unfolded on 26 February 2014 outside the building of the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol. On that day, two demonstrations took place at the venue: a pro-Ukrainian protest and a counter-protest of pro-Russian separatists. The event marked the high point of tensions in the Crimea and the starting […]

06.03.2019more
HFHR intervenes in case of prisoner’s death

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the death of an inmate of the prison at Sieraków Śląski. The HFHR has brought this case to the attention of the Circuit Prosecutor’s Office in Częstochowa.

06.03.2019more
HFHR comments on proposed amendment to asylum law

The HFHR has sent to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration its comments on another version of a proposed amendment to the Act on the provision of legal protection for foreigners in Poland.

27.02.2019more
Court prohibits use of journalist’s image in anti-refugee campaign spot

On 18 February 2019, the Regional Court in Warsaw forbade the publication of a campaign spot that raised a wave of protests because of its anti-refugee message. The injunction granted in this respect is valid for a year and covers the portion of the spot featuring a journalist’s image, which was used without consent of […]

27.02.2019more
Prosecutor’s orders delivered at recipient’s expense: intervention

The case was reported to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights by a criminal defence attorney representing Piotr, a defendant in pre-trial detention. The lawyer informed us about a problem with the delivery of the prosecutor’s orders concerning visitation applications made by Piotr’s wife, Agnieszka. Each time she applied to visit her husband, the prosecutor’s […]

19.02.2019more
HFHR submits communication on juvenile justice proceedings to CoE Committee of Ministers

Juvenile Justice Act must be amended, says the Helsinki Foundation in the conclusion of its communication on the execution of ECtHR judgment in Grabowski v. Poland, which was submitted to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

19.02.2019more
Disciplinary proceedings against judges and prosecutors

Since 2015, Poland has been facing an ongoing constitutional crisis which affects the work and position of the judiciary. The numerous legal changes concerning the work of the courts (from top-rank courts such as the Constitutional Tribunal and the Supreme Court to common courts) as well as prosecution were accompanied by smear campaigns and attacks against judges and certain […]

14.02.2019more
Top administrative court dismisses HFHR’s complaint against compulsory return decision issued under anti-terror laws

The case concerned a decision made by the Minister of the Interior and Administration to expel an Algerian national whose wife is Polish. This decision was based on classified evidence that purportedly showed that the man was “a terrorist threat”.

14.02.2019more
HFHR opposes public display of images of protesters against state-owned TV

“The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights strongly opposes the release of images and data identifying participants in the protest before the head office of Polish Public Television on 2 February 2019, which was done by Wiadomości TVP, an evening news programme. Publishing a person’s image without their consent not only is illegal and amounts to […]

14.02.2019more
Warsaw court to rule on moral damages for family’s wrongful immigration detention

The case was started by a family from Tajikistan, a mother with two infants, who filed a motion for compensation for a moral loss caused by unlawful detention in a guarded immigration centre. The causes of action cited in the motion included deprivation of the family members’ liberty in spite of the fact that the […]

06.02.2019more
HFHR’s guide on strategic litigation before CJEU

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has prepared a guidebook on human rights strategic litigation before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

06.02.2019more
Transcription of birth certificates of surrogate-born children: HFHR presents opinion to ECtHR

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted a legal opinion in a case concerning the rules of transcription of birth certificates of children born by surrogate mothers.

06.02.2019more
Joint statement on the freedom to religion or belief in Russia

We, the members of the NGO coalition Civic Solidarity Platform, express our deep concern for the deprivation of the right to freedom of religion or belief towards Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and the persecution of the Community members. We urge the Russian authorities to stop deprivations, interrogations and criminal investigations for peaceful religious activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. […]

31.01.2019more
HFHR submits amicus curiae brief in domestic violence case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief with the European Court of Human Rights in a case brought by A.K., a female victim of domestic violence. In its brief, the HFHR shows that the problem of domestic violence in Poland is a systemic one. The Foundation also refers to a […]

23.01.2019more
Helsinki Committee on hate speech

The murder of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz is a challenge for Polish democracy and a proof that the political conflict has gone beyond peaceful borders and became a threat to the Polish people.

23.01.2019more
HFHR writes to Prime Minister about interpreter summoned for questioning

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a letter of intervention to the Prime Minister, inquiring about a case of an interpreter summoned for an interview by the prosecution service. Law enforcement authorities want to interview the interpreter about her translation of a conversation between then-Polish Prime Ministers of Poland and Russia, Donald Tusk […]

11.01.2019more
ECHR judgment in case of journalists and activists from Azerbaijan

On 13 December 2018, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgment in the case of Mursaliyev and Others v. Azerbaijan. The Court found violations of Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 2 of Protocol 4 to the Convention. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights submitted an amicus curiae […]

11.01.2019more
Top administrative court dismisses appeals against discontinuation of refusal of entry proceedings at Terespol border station

The Supreme Administrative Court has heard complaints in cassation submitted by HFHR clients – Syrian nationals who were refused entry by Border Guard officers at the border crossing station in Terespol despite declared intention of applying for international protection. Also in their case, the European Court of Human Rights issued measures, in which it ordered […]

21.12.2018more
HFHR launches report on reintegration of residents of juvenile rehabilitation institutions

Does the system of juvenile rehabilitation in Poland work effectively? What happens to young adults after they leave young offender institutions and youth education centres? Do they have somewhere to go? These are some of the questions answered by the most recent report of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights concerning the reintegration of residents […]

21.12.2018more
HFHR intervenes to protect journalistic sources

Following several cases of police officers entering homes of journalists, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights asked the Chief Commissioner of the Warsaw Police to provide a legal basis for these visits and to indicate a legal good or interest that would justify such a far-reaching interference in journalists’ rights.

21.12.2018more
Migrants, refugees and xenophobia in 2018 election campaign – monitoring report

In autumn 2018, we monitored the election campaign and read thousands of social media posts of candidates for mayors of ten Polish provincial capitals.

21.12.2018more
International conference at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

“Overcoming obstacles to the access of detained persons to rights and the judge: European perspectives”, the international conference at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

12.12.2018more
Torture victim’s family awarded damages for moral suffering

On 16 October 2018, the Pervomaysky District Court in Bishkek has ruled that the Kyrgyz Republic must pay 200,000 soms (approximately $3,000) in damages for moral suffering to the family of a man who died as a result of torture.

10.12.2018more
Kraków court asks CJEU about discrimination

The Regional Court in Kraków has sent a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union, asking about the interpretation of the concept of discrimination. The court’s question is whether EU law prohibits an employer’s conduct of differentiating the situation within a group of employees distinguished on the basis […]

10.12.2018more
Amicus curiae brief filed as court considers lifting reporter’s privilege

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Regional Court in Poznań to address a motion for a waiver of the reporter’s privilege invoked by journalist Piotr Żytnicki, which was issued by the Circuit Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań on 19 September 2018.

10.12.2018more
The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the protection of human rights. Discussion in Brussels

The HFHR organized a discussion „To Luxemburg instead of Strasbourg? The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the protection of human rights”. It took place in the office of the Clifford Chance in Brussels.

10.12.2018more
“A judgment in Strasbourg is not the end!” Report on the execution of judgement of the European Court of Human Rights

The HFHR has published a report on the execution of judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. The publication included many ECtHR judgments that refer to issues relevant to freedom and human rights.

27.11.2018more
Amicus brief on Russian NGO law

HFHR has submitted an amicus curiae brief with the European Court of Human Rights in Levada v. Russia, a case concerning a Russian law on NGOs. According to this law, all non-governmental organisations that “engage in political activities” and receive foreign funding must register as “foreign agents”. Moreover, all materials published by such organisations must […]

27.11.2018more
Statement on investigation launched against TVN reporters

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued an open position statement to express concern about the atmosphere that is being created by the Ministry of Justice, special services and the ruling party around TVN journalists who reported on a group of neo-Nazis celebrating Hitler’s birthday.

27.11.2018more
HFHR on proposed amendment to press law

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has reached out to the Speaker of the Sejm in connection with a proposal of an amendment to the Press Law Act and some other Acts, which was submitted to the Sejm on 19 October 2018 by Kukiz’15 parliamentary grouping.

27.11.2018more
„To Luxembourg instead of Strasbourg?” A report on the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the protection of human rights

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published the report  „To Luxembourg instead of to Strasbourg?” by dr. Piotr Kładoczny, Marcin Szwed and Katarzyna Wiśniewska, in which the EU system of protection of individual rights is discussed.

18.10.2018more
Strasbourg Court to decide on exhumations of Smolensk crash victims

According to a statement by the European Court of Human Rights, on 20th September the Court will pass a judgment in the landmark case initiated by applications brought by families of victims of the Smolensk crash who opposed the exhumation of their loved ones’ remains. The ECtHR itself considers this matter to be one of […]

14.09.2018more
Report on CRPD Implementation

On 4 and 5 September, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will examine Poland’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The HFHR has presented a report to the Committee pointing out problems that prevent full implementation of the Convention and making recommendations that need to be […]

07.09.2018more
Moral damages sought for refused medical marijuana treatment

The mother of a girl who died before receiving a scheduled but ultimately cancelled treatment with medical marijuana has sued the medical institution and doctor who decided to refuse this treatment. She demands that the hospital be ordered to pay PLN 150 thousand for a charitable purpose.

07.09.2018more
Supreme Court in Poland – recent developments

According to Law on Supreme Court adopted in December 2017, two new chambers will be established in the Supreme Court (SC).

06.09.2018more
HFHR’s opinion on legal incapacitation

Incapacitation results in far-reaching interference with a person’s rights and freedoms. The use of this measure results in the deprivation or limitation of a person’s capacity to perform acts in law. Current solutions in this respect are contrary to constitutional and international standards for the protection of the rights of people with intellectual or mental […]

22.08.2018more
HFHR issues statement in case of detained head of Open Dialogue Foundation

According to media reports, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, president of the Open Dialog Foundation, was detained in Brussels. As Ms Kozlovska’s husband informed on her social media profile, her detention was a result of the entry of an alert on her person into the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) by Polish authorities, which was intended to […]

22.08.2018more
Poland yet to comply with ECHR judgments on access to abortion

In September, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will consider Poland’s implementation of the ECHR judgment in a case concerning access to abortion (P. and S. v. Poland). According to the HFHR, the current legislation still does not guarantee effective access to abortion even when such access is provided for by law.

22.08.2018more
HFHR’s opinion on journalistic coverage of protests

The dissemination of information about demonstrations and social protests is one of the key responsibilities of the media in a democratic society. In order to be able to discharge this responsibility, journalists must be given special protection. Uninhibited reporting on demonstrations is important not only for the freedom of speech but also for the freedom […]

08.08.2018more
CJEU judgment – what was Polish Government’s case?

The Court of Justice of the EU, in its judgment of 25 July 2018, ruled that a judicial authority called upon to execute a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) may refuse to do so if it finds that there is a real risk to the fairness of the judicial process in an EU Member State.

08.08.2018more
Journalist covering protests in Białowieża Forest acquitted

On Wednesday 1 August 2018, the District Court in Bielsko-Podlaskie acquitted Rafał Wojczal, a photojournalist who reported on the protests in the Białowieża Forest in the summer of 2017. The journalist was charged with unlawful entry into the forest and a failure to leave the area at the request of an authorised person. The judgment […]

08.08.2018more
Documentarian denied access to Sejm seeks judicial review

The HFHR has become involved in the case of the documentary filmmaker Konrad Szołajski, who led a crew that wanted to shoot footage for a film on the Parliament’s premises. The filmmaker twice applied for a press pass that would allow him to enter the Parliament grounds, but his both requests were denied by the […]

01.08.2018more
Helsinki Foundation stands up for detained protesters

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has intervened with the Chief Commissioner of the Police and a prosecutor with a Circuit Prosecutor’s Office regarding the possibility of serious violations of law during the protests before the Sejm that took place last Friday, on 20 July 2018.

01.08.2018more
CPT publishes report on torture in Poland

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published a report on its visit to Poland in 2017. The document reveals many irregularities in the examined detention facilities.

01.08.2018more
HFHR comments upcoming amendments to Supreme Court Act

The Helsinki Foundation has sent an opinion on the amendment to the laws on the Supreme Court and on the National Council of the Judiciary, which were hastily adopted by the Sejm on 20 July.

23.07.2018more
Who receives information about cases from Prosecutor General?

The Helsinki Foundation has received the statement of reasons to the decision of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw from March 2018, in which the PAC admitted the HFHR’s complaint against the Prosecutor General’s decision to deny access to information about the number of instances in which the PG provided access to individual court cases […]

20.07.2018more
Supreme Administrative Court rules on reimbursement of drug for patient with chronic pain

The Supreme Administrative Court has set aside a judgment of a Provincial Administrative Court and the decision of the Minister of Health that refused to reimburse costs of a medicine with dried cannabis taken by a woman suffering from chronic pain. The woman’s condition causes acute pain in legs, which prevents her from performing activities […]

17.07.2018more
Letter from the International Lawyers’ Commission to the President

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), its Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL) and the sitting and former judges who are Commissioners and Honorary Members of the ICJ, has sent an open letter to the President of Poland, condemning the forced retirement of 27 out of 72 judges of Polish Supreme Court, including […]

16.07.2018more
Teen victim of rape awarded quarter million in moral damages

A middle school student was raped by three pupils of the same school. Today, a court of appeal finally decided the case awarding the woman PLN 250,000 in moral damages (plus interest) from the perpetrators.

13.07.2018more
Supreme Administrative Court: change of law needed to secure early retirees eligibility for carer’s benefit

The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that Maria Kowalska* would not receive a nursing benefit granted to a carer of a person with a disability because she receives an early retirement pension (which is nearly half the amount of the nursing benefit). The SAC held that without a change in law it was impossible to […]

12.07.2018more
Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty. Fundamental Legal and Practical Issues – HFHR’s report

A delegation of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), which arrived on 9 July, will be visiting Poland until 19 July.  The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has prepared a report which presents its observations on the current situation in detention facilities.

09.07.2018more
Position statement on Supreme Court

In recent days, we have witnessed the consequences of the coming into force of yet another batch of provisions of the new Supreme Court Act. The Act lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges who may remain on bench exclusively upon receiving a discretionary (and utterly unreviewable) approval of the President of Poland.

09.07.2018more
Civil society organisations on another “dissenting opinion” of Mariusz Muszyński

Almost 50 civic organisations and initiatives have issued a position statement on another “dissenting opinion” of Mariusz Muszyński appended to a decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, in which Mr Muszyński accuses the Polish Ombudsman, the Commissioner for Human Rights, of having “ethical shortcomings” and engaging in “illegal activism”.

02.07.2018more
Protection of freedom of speech during armed conflicts – HFHR’s amicus curiae opinion in Strasbourg

In May 2018, the Helsinki Foundation submitted an amicus curiae opinion in the case Lefter and Others v. Ukraine and Russia (application no. 30863/14 et al.). In the opinion, we have addressed the problem of protecting journalists who provide information about armed conflicts in the context of the situation of the media covering the war […]

29.06.2018more
Solidarity with Hungarian Helsinki Committee

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights wishes to express its solidarity with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and all civil society activists in Hungary who will be affected by the consequences of the so-called Stop Soros legislative package that was voted into law by the Hungarian Parliament last week.

28.06.2018more
NGOs write about political prisoners in Russian Federation

Nearly 40 non-governmental organisations, including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Polish Football Association to take action for the release of persons incarcerated by the Russian Federation for political reasons. 

22.06.2018more
Disciplinary tribunal rules on columns written by retired prosecutor

Prosecutor General’s Disciplinary Tribunal found Beata Mik, a retired prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office, guilty of a disciplinary infraction, imposing the penalty of official warning.

21.06.2018more
Constitutional Tribunal rules on displaying reasons of disability in disability certificates

The Constitutional Tribunal has decided a case involving the display of reasons of a disability in disability certificates, which was worked by the Helsinki Foundation. The Tribunal declared the challenged provisions unconstitutional.

19.06.2018more
Prosecutor disciplined for columns she wrote

Beata Mik, a retired prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s office is the long-standing author of many columns published in the press, including in Rzeczpospolita, a popular national daily newspaper. In March 2018 she was accused of not having notified her superiors of her further collaboration with the title, which had allegedly “weakened public trust in […]

15.06.2018more
Malta Foundation sues Culture Ministry for 300,000 zloty

On 5 June 2018, the Malta Foundation, organiser of the Malta Festival Poznań, filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, seeking the payment of PLN 300,000 on account of the Ministry’s failure to pay this amount as a dedicated subsidy for the 2017 Festival.

11.06.2018more
HFHR intervenes to stop maltreatment of former court president detained on remand

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has contacted the Governor of Rzeszów Prison, referring to the possibility of major violations of rights of Krzysztof S., a former president of the Court of Appeal in Kraków, who was detained on remand from October 2017 to February 2018.

08.06.2018more
Citizenship: none. HFHR intervenes in stateless person’s case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has intervened in a case of a stateless person applying for a presidential grant of citizenship.

07.06.2018more
How independent is Polish judiciary? CJEU to respond to Irish court’s question referred for preliminary ruling

On 1 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union held the hearing in the case triggered by a request for a preliminary ruling submitted by Irish High Court of Dublin.

01.06.2018more
Deadly raid of security services, HFHR issues statement to Warsaw’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office

The HFHR has intervened in the case of death of the woman who fell out of a window after being arrested by the Internal Security Agency.

24.05.2018more
Departure of Michał Nawrocki, Professor of Warsaw University and Member of HFHR Council

We are saddened by the loss of Professor Michał Nawrocki, a physicist, Professor of the University of Warsaw and an anti-communist activist in the 1980s.

23.05.2018more
HFHR comments on situation of Sejm protesters and limited access to parliamentary premises

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed its concerns over the situation of the persons with disabilities and their carers who protest at the Sejm building. The HFHR also protests against the current policy of suspending parliamentary single-entry passes and single-entry press cards.

22.05.2018more
Coalition for criminal law: criminal lawmaking needs reforms

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force the trio of the currently applicable criminal codes: the Criminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Criminal Enforcement Code.

21.05.2018more
Freedom of speech curtailed in Kraków’s Regional Court

The Regional Court in Kraków has imposed a new policy on contacts between court’s personnel and the media and journalists’ access to the court. In its comments to the proposed measures, the HFHR notes that the new policies may unreasonably limit the right to information, freedom of speech and violate the guarantees established in the […]

18.05.2018more
Top administrative court dismisses Border Guard’s appeal against judgment revoking entry refusal decision issued against Chechen refugee

The Supreme Administrative Court has decided the case brought by 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 on an official […]

17.05.2018more
HFHR issues statement on Mariusz Muszyński’s “dissenting opinion” commenting Ombudsman’s case withdrawn from Constitutional Tribunal

The Helsinki Foundation protests against Mariusz Muszyński’s allegations pursued against Dr Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr Muszyński claims that Dr Bodnar has violated his oath of office and evades performing his duties.

16.05.2018more
Case of Tomasz Komenda: time for reflection

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has welcomed with satisfaction today’s judgment of the Supreme Court in which the Court acquitted Tomasz Komenda on all counts. In the opinion of the HFHR, this case should give rise to reflection and lead to conclusions that would reduce the future risk of unjust convictions. 

16.05.2018more
Justice system for children – My lawyer, my rights final conference

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Human Rights Committee of the Polish Bar Association have the pleasure of inviting our readers to take part in the conference My lawyer, my Rights. Justice System for Children, devoted to the legal guarantees for children in conflict with the law and specifically to children’s access to the […]

14.05.2018more
Access to lawyer – is Poland effectively implementing EU law?

The Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights has prepared two publications that provide comprehensive coverage of access to a defence lawyer in Poland from the perspectives of international standards and practical application of those standards.

14.05.2018more
How were court chiefs sacked? HFHR reports

A past-dated, one-sentence decision, sent via fax and issued without any comprehensive assessment of the situation within a court: this is how the Minister of Justice was dismissing presidents and deputy presidents of courts from August 2017 to February 2018, reveals today’s report of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

09.05.2018more
Recruitment of study participants

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights are currently conducting a survey of procedural rights of subjects of criminal proceedings including arrested persons and suspects (also detained suspects) as well as the persons wanted under a European Arrest Warrant. As part of this project, we plan to conduct 11 […]

07.05.2018more
First anniversary of Professor Wiktor Osiatyński’s departure

A year ago we learned that Professor Wiktor Osiatyński had lost his struggle with illness and would remain with us only in spirit.

29.04.2018more
New risks emerge to threaten freedom of press in Poland

Poland ranked 58 in the latest World Press Freedom Index by the Reporters Without Borders. Our country fell four places down compared to the previous year’s Index and recorded a worrying decline (40 places) over the period of last three years.

26.04.2018more
Police violence in Poland: HFHR submits amicus curiae opinion in Strasbourg Court

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has presented an amicus curiae opinion to the European Court of Human Rights in a case that involved a violent assault on two men during a police action.

26.04.2018more
Victim of domestic violence files complaint with UN Committee

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has communicated a complaint about the use of domestic violence against S. and Poland’s failure to provide her with adequate protection. “This is a landmark case because it is the first time the Committee will hear a case involving Poland”, notes Marcin Szwed, an HFHR […]

19.04.2018more
HFHR on another package of justice system laws

The Sejm has adopted amendments to laws on the Supreme Court, Constitutional Tribunal and common courts. According to the HFHR, none of the proposed changes fulfils recommendations of the European Commission issued as part of the rule of law monitoring procedure.

16.04.2018more
After nearly 13 years, court awards 700,000 zloty for unlawful detention on remand

A final judgment has been passed in the case of a former Provincial Police Commissioner charged with conspiring with members of the so-called “Fuel Mafia”. The man had been since acquitted on all counts and now he was awarded PLN 700,000 in compensation for a moral injury caused by unlawful detention.

13.04.2018more
HFHR’s complaint against compulsory return of Iraqi PhD student dismissed

Ameer Alkhawlany is an Iraqi citizen and former PhD student of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In April 2017 he was deported from Poland based on classified information which allegedly showed that Mr Alkhawlany was a “security threat”. In today’s ruling, a Provincial Administrative Court has dismissed the complaints against the compulsory return decision issued […]

12.04.2018more
Strasbourg Court’s first judgment on immigrant detention in Poland

The European Court of Human Rights has issued the judgment in a case that concerned the placement of a family of foreigners at the guarded immigration centre in Kętrzyn (Bistieva v. Poland, no. 75157/14).

10.04.2018more
HFHR responds to deadly police intervention

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed its concerns over the death of Damian G. The man died in a Radom hospital where he was brought after being arrested by police officers.

09.04.2018more
HFHR comments on amended Supreme Court Act as it becomes effective

“The entry into force of an amendment to the Supreme Court Act constitutes yet another chapter of the rule of law crisis that has been affecting Poland since the end of 2015. … “The law disturbs the operation and reduces the effectiveness of the highest court in Poland who has now hundreds of cases on […]

03.04.2018more
Minister of Justice tarnished reputation of judge recalled from official travel assignment

The Regional Court in Warsaw held that the Minister of Justice had unlawfully violated personal interests of district court judge Justyna Koska-Janusz by publishing a statement on the termination of her official assignment to a regional court.  The Court ordered the Minister to remove the statement from Justice Ministry’s website and publish an apology. The […]

30.03.2018more
Does it work as it should? – HFHR’s report on activities of Constitutional Tribunal in 2017

A drop in confidence in the Constitutional Tribunal, a substantial decrease of the number of the cases that are heard and accepted, unreasonable restrictions on the public character of proceedings conducted before the Tribunal as well as additional concerns regarding the appointment of Julia Przyłębska as the President of the Constitutional Tribunal – these are […]

29.03.2018more
Assemblies Act scrutinised by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court adopted a resolution on the interpretation of provisions of the Assemblies Act. The Court shared the opinion of the HFHR according to which courts should consider appeals against a province governor’s decision prohibiting an assembly even after the scheduled date of the prohibited assembly.

28.03.2018more
No ophthalmologist appointment for patient with assistance dog. Court: this is discrimination based on disability

An ophthalmologist violated personal interests of a patient whom he refused to see due to the presence of an assistance dog, held the Regional Court in Kraków, ordering the physician to make a charitable donation.

27.03.2018more
Grave danger to Chechens refused access to refugee procedure in Terespol

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Amnesty International and the Association for Legal Intervention noted with concern the information about the fate of a young Chechen who had been forcibly returned to the territory of the Russian Federation by Belarussian authorities in early March.

26.03.2018more
Prosecutor General erred in refusing HFHR information about third party disclosures of information on criminal proceedings

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has reversed the decision of the Prosecutor General that denied the HFHR’s motion for disclosure of public information about the communication of information on criminal proceedings to third parties.

26.03.2018more
HFHR on limited availability of abortion vs. dignity of women

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued a statement opposing the plans to introduce more restrictions on access to legal abortion in Poland.

23.03.2018more
Should religion educators be form teachers?

The HFHR has opposed the Ministry of National Education’s proposal of a regulation that enables teachers of religious education to be appointed form teachers.

22.03.2018more
Court of appeal upholds judgment declaring boycott of beer unlawful

On 21 March 2018, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw made the judgment in which it partially reversed Warsaw’s Regional Court decision issued in the case of a boycott of a well-known brand of beer.

21.03.2018more
Interior Ministry no longer seeks to amend Public Collections Act

The Ministry of the Interior and Administration (MSWiA) has decided to abandon its plans to amend the Public Collections Act. The decision follows a review of comments submitted by social organisations.

19.03.2018more
Judicial red tape: settlement in Strasbourg

Krzysztof lost a civil suit in first instance proceedings. He lodged an appeal, which was dismissed by the second instance court. The second instance court ruled that the application for delivery of the judgement had been submitted beyond the deadline because it had been sent not through the Polish Post Office but through a private […]

16.03.2018more
Prevention of torture in Kyrgyzstan: HFHR submits amicus curiae opinion

The HFHR has prepared an amicus curiae opinion for the Kyrgyz court hearing the case of S., a victim of torture sentenced to 14 years in prison for the alleged trafficking in drugs.

15.03.2018more
Charges? Secret. Right to defence in cases built on sealed evidence

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw dismissed the Helsinki Foundation’s complaint against a compulsory return decision issued under new anti-terror laws. The decision, made by the Minister of the Interior and Administration, ordered the return of an Algerian national whose wife is Polish. This decision was based on classified evidence that purportedly showed that the […]

15.03.2018more
March’68 commemorated by letter from Poles to Jews

“There are millions of people in Poland who care about the Polish-Jewish dialogue and the truth about our common history. We are writing to you as friends. We’d like you to know that were are around – in Poland and in every place we are connected not only by history and ancestry but also by […]

14.03.2018more
CJEU to assess independence of Polish judiciary? Irish court seeks guidance from CJEU

Irish media report that a High Court has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling on a question about the possibility of a refusal to extradite a person to Poland under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) procedure. The case concerns a man suspected of being involved in a criminal […]

14.03.2018more
Legal aid for victim of sexual abuse

The HFHR has instructed counsel to represent a victim in a sexual abuse case. The abuse occurred in a therapeutic facility for children.

13.03.2018more
Sergei Kovalev in Warsaw

We are looking forward to having you to join the meeting with Sergei Kovalev, a key figure in the human rights movement in the Soviet Union, a legendary dissident and political prisoner.

12.03.2018more
European Court of Human Rights to rule on annulment of secondary school leavers’ exam

The ECtHR has communicated to the Polish Government 18 applications submitted by secondary school students taking the end-of-school examinations invalidated in 2011. According to the applicants, their inability to seek a judicial review of the decisions of the National Examination Board amounted to a violation of their right to a court and right to education.

06.03.2018more
A Statement On The Appointment Of Members Of The National Council Of The Judiciary

On 17 January 2017, an amendment to the National Judiciary Council Act entered into force. The amendment, a piece of legislation incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, deprived Polish judges of their right to appoint their representatives to the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland (NCJ), awarding the authority to nominate […]

05.03.2018more
Refusal of visa vs. right to court: Polish law incompatible with EU law, ruled Polish top administrative court

Polish law effectively denies foreigners access to a judicial review of a consul’s refusal of a Schengen visa. Based on a preliminary reference judgment of the European Court of Justice, Polish Supreme Administrative Court has made a decision declaring relevant national legislation incompatible with EU laws.

01.03.2018more
Pre-trial detention was unlawfully extended, Poland admits before ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights has heard the application of Norbert, who alleged to have been a victim of a violation of the right to personal liberty during an extension of his pre-trial detention.

01.03.2018more
Rights of foreigners seeking protection in Poland are not respected

The HFHR has presented a commentary on key events in the area of international protection in Poland in 2017 to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

28.02.2018more
Driving license seized… by mistake. Judgment of first instance court

A Regional Court decided the case of Maciej Kwiatkowski*, whose driving licence was suspended in the consequence of the alleged drunk driving. The Court ruled that Mr Kwiatkowski was mistakenly accused and awarded him PLN 20,000 in compensation for moral injury from a local police commissioner and district prosecutor’s office. The judgment is not yet […]

26.02.2018more
Pro-women rights poster does not insult WW2 resistance symbol: Green Party activists’ acquittal becomes final

On Thursday, 22 February 2018, A Regional Court upheld the acquittal of the Green Party activists accused of insulting the Anchor, a sign of Polish WW2 Underground State. The accused were accused to have committed the offence by displaying a poster with gender symbols painted at the tips of the Anchor symbol. The acquittal decision […]

22.02.2018more
Discussions on rule of law crisis in Poland

The crisis that has been affecting the rule of law in Poland since 2015 not only affects the national human rights system but also leads to the weakening of Poland’s international position. This was a key conclusion of a debate attended by representatives of the Warsaw Regional Bar Association and the Helsinki Foundation for Human […]

19.02.2018more
Letter of solidarity with civil society in Hungary

On 13 February 2018, Hungarian Government sent to the Parliament a draft legislation package of three laws, commonly known as “Stop Soros”. If adopted, the new legislation would curb the Hungarian civil society’s ability to work by requiring organisations that “support immigration” to obtain a domestic security certificate and a governmental permission to perform their […]

19.02.2018more
The regress of democratic and liberal human rights standards – Helsinki Committee’s in Poland statement

“The two years that passed since November 2015 have brought the highest number of challenges and threats to human rights and freedoms in the entire post-1989 period”, reads today’s statement of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

16.02.2018more
Court agrees to arrestee’s surgery after intervention of HFHR

The Helsinki Foundation conducts the case of Wojciech, who broke his leg while in pre-trial detention. Although the man’s injury must be dealt with in a surgery, the filing of an indictment against Wojciech a week prior the scheduled date of the procedure has jeopardised his chances to complete it.

14.02.2018more
National and ethnic minorities call for prevention of xenophobia

Representatives of national and ethnic minorities organisations have called on Polish authorities to tackle the rising wave of xenophobia and violence based on nationality, race and religion.

14.02.2018more
Polish Government admits unlawful detention

The European Court of Human Rights has considered the application filed by Łukasz, who sought remedies against the unreasonable extension of his involuntary committal to a psychiatric hospital, ordered in spite of his doctors’ recommendation of outpatient care.

09.02.2018more
Deportation based on confidential evidence: case accepted by ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated a case of a foreign national whose expulsion was based on confidential evidence. His family remained in Poland.

07.02.2018more
Journalist won’t be prosecuted for trespass

The District Court in Nysa has discontinued the case of Dominika Wolak, a journalist of the local newspaper Nowiny Nyskie, who was charged with trespass during a journalistic intervention at a veterinary clinic. This is an important decision in the context of journalists’ right to collect information.

06.02.2018more
Unilateral revocation of reporter’s privilege illegal, rules court

A Newsweek reporter’s disclosure of the identity of a source had been an abuse of the reporter’s privilege and an unlawful violation of the source’s personal interests: the right to anonymity and secrecy of correspondence, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw ruled in a judgment made on 1 February 2018.

02.02.2018more
Travel ban imposed of the Azerbaijani journalists

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights presented an amicus curiae brief in the case Ganbarova and Others v. Azerbaijan before the European Court of Human Rights. It concerns the Azerbaijani journalists that have been subjected to travel bans imposed on them by the authorities.

01.02.2018more
Polish case of immigrant detention lands before Strasbourg Court

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Polish Government another case of the unreasonable placement of foreign nationals in a guarded immigration centre.

30.01.2018more
The amendment to National Remembrance Institute Act adopted by the Sejm

The Sejm adopted on 26th of January the amendment to National Remembrance Institute Act. In HFHR’s view it may lead to an unreasonable interference with the freedom of expression.

30.01.2018more
Freedom of media in Azerbaijan: statement sent to Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent a statement to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers concerning Azerbaijan’s failure to perform obligations arising from the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights that refer to long-term prison sentences imposed against journalists convicted for defamation.

25.01.2018more
New CoE Human Rights Commissioner

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has elected Dunja Mijatović for the post of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. Ms Mijatović will replace Nils Muiznieks, whose term concluded in April 2018. Dunja Mijatovic has been involved in protecting human rights for more than two decades. Her areas of speciality […]

25.01.2018more
Poland’s 2017 asylum statistics: conclusions

The Office for Foreigners has published the statistical data on the international protection granted by Poland in 2017.

22.01.2018more
Access to lawyer still ineffective in Poland, says HFHR report

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has prepared the report entitled On the (in)accessible access to an attorney (Polish title: O (nie)dostępnym dostępie do adwokata). The purpose of this report is to present the status of implementation of Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on the right […]

15.01.2018more
Departure of Jerzy Ciemniewski, retired constitutional judge and member of HFHR Council

Jerzy Ciemniewski, a member of the Council of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, died in the evening of 11 January.

12.01.2018more
HFHR comments on proposed amendment to Drug Abuse Prevention Act

The Ministry of Health has opened public consultations on the proposal of an amendment to the Drug Abuse Prevention Act. The amendment aims to curb the manufacture and sales of so-called “legal highs”.

11.01.2018more
Head of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” in Grozny detained – HFHR’s statement

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its deep concern regarding the detention of a human rights defender in Chechnya, the head of the Chechen center of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” of Oyuba Titiev.

10.01.2018more
Amended Mental Health Protection Act to improve situation of incapacitated persons

An amendment to the Mental Health Protection Act entered into force on 1 January 2018. The basic purpose of the amendment is to implement judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Constitutional Tribunal that concern the placement of legally incapacitated persons in state-run nursing homes.

04.01.2018more
Right to early access to a lawyer in criminal cases across Europe – statement of Justicia European Rights Network

On 20 December 2017, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear the case of Beuze v Belgium (no. 71409/10). Its decision in this case will have wide-ranging effects on the right to early access to a lawyer in criminal cases across Europe. The members of the JUSTICIA European Rights Network […]

19.12.2017more
Call upon the Polish President to veto the acts jeopardizing the independence of justice system in Poland

“Yet again we appeal to you Mr. President to protect the Polish Constitution and the rule of law which it guarantees. We call upon you, Mr. President, to veto two acts changing the functioning of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland and the Supreme Court” – reads the statements of the civil society […]

15.12.2017more
ECtHR: states must respect same-sex partnerships registered abroad

The European Court of Human Rights has delivered the judgment in a case that involved a refusal of registration of same-sex civil unions from abroad in Italy. The Court found that the laws which prevent domestic recognition of such unions violated the right to respect for private life. In the judgment, the ECtHR referred to the […]

15.12.2017more
Refusal of visa vs. right to court: ECJ’s ruling

The European Court of Justice has entered a judgment in a case of a foreign national who was refused a Schengen visa. The ECJ relied on the Schengen Visa Code and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and ruled that at a certain stage of the proceedings brought in visa cases, a foreign national should be […]

13.12.2017more
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights comments on regulatory penalty imposed on TVN

According to the HFHR, the authorisation to impose an exceptionally severe financial penalty on TVN, a private television broadcaster, given by the National Broadcasting Council to the Council’s Chair in relation to “the way in which TVN24 news channel covered the events in an around the Polish Parliament on 16-18 December 2016” and unaccompanied by […]

12.12.2017more
Launch: Resisting Ill Democracies in Europe

From emerging democracies in transition, illiberal governments have rapidly transformed Hungary and Poland into ill democracies, have attempted to do so in Croatia, and are slowly and carefully entertaining an illiberal platform in Serbia, according to the new case study Resisting Ill Democracies in Europe.

11.12.2017more
Polish Administrative Court admits complaint of foreigner denied international protection

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has decided a case of a Chechen citizen of Russian Federation who seeks international protection in Poland. Even though a psychologist’s report describes that the man suffers from psychological disorders, possibly resulting from torture, Polish authorities failed to investigate the issue properly and refused to grant him international protection.

08.12.2017more
Excessively lengthy proceedings in courts: waiting for changes

During its next session, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will discuss the execution of a judgment, in which the European Court of Human Rights addressed the problem of excessive lengthy court proceedings in Poland. The HFHR has presented its review of actions so far taken in this area by Polish authorities.

05.12.2017more
Cyber-violence against women in HFHR’s report

Hostile behaviour towards women who are active online is a common phenomenon. Although cyber-violence may be experienced by everyone, regardless of a sex, the latest study performed by the HFHR has shown that the cyber-violence directed against women most frequently targets their appearance, sex, private or intimate life or is sexism-related. Online attacks against women […]

05.12.2017more
Cyber-violence against women in HFHR’s report

Hostile behaviour towards women who are active online is a common phenomenon. Although cyber-violence may be experienced by everyone, regardless of a sex, the latest study performed by the HFHR has shown that the cyber-violence directed against women most frequently targets their appearance, sex, private or intimate life or is sexism-related. Online attacks against women […]

05.12.2017more
New law: all persons with disabilities can claim tax credit on assistance dog expenses

An amendment of tax law, which is due to enter into force on 1 January 2018, provides wider access to the “rehabilitation credit” for owners of assistance dogs.

01.12.2017more
Non-publication of constitutional judgments: case records speak lengths

“On that day I spoke personally with Prime Minister Beata Szydło and during this conversation Prime Minister told me not to send cases for an editorial review and notification in the Journal of Laws. I received such an instruction from Prime Minister for each of the Constitutional Tribunal’s decisions until 16 August 2016”, reads the […]

30.11.2017more
Committee for Justice and Human Rights working on Supreme Court and National Judiciary Council Bills

The Sejm Committee for Justice and Human Rights is working on the proposals of amendments to the Supreme Court Act and the National Judiciary Council Act submitted by the President of Poland.

29.11.2017more
Court to dismiss Ameera Alkhawlany’s complaint of denial of international protection

Ameer Alkhawlany is an Iraqi citizen and former PhD student of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In April 2017 he was deported from Poland based on classified information which allegedly showed that Mr Alkhawlany was a “security threat”. In today’s decision, a Provincial Administrative Court dismissed the HFHR’s complaint against a decision of the Polish […]

24.11.2017more
Another series of consultations on proposed law on transparency of public life – HFHR’s opinion and citizens-sponsored proposal of whistleblowers protection law

The second round of consultations on a proposed law on the transparency of public life has already started. Although the most worrying provisions were removed from the draft, the proposed measures still create serious risks. At the same time, the proposal fails to address any of the problems that currently appear in the areas that […]

24.11.2017more
Reform of courts in legislative works – Helsinki Committee in Poland issues statement

The Helsinki Committee in Poland has issued a statement on the pending legislative works on the reform of the court system.

24.11.2017more
New rules of pre-publication approvals

Last week, the President signed into law an amendment to the Press Law Act which modified, among other things, the procedure of pre-publication approval of statements made for purposes of press articles. The amendment seeks to adjust the law to the guidelines offered by the ECtHR in the judgment Wizerkaniuk v. Poland, in which the Court […]

22.11.2017more
Free courts!

The coalition of 28 CSOs strongly protest against the prepared amendments to the laws on the National Council of Judiciary and the Supreme Court.

21.11.2017more
Who really needs reform: Court or Committee of Ministers? HFHR’s letter to Danish Ministry of Justice

The Helsinki Foundation has sent a letter to the Danish Ministry of Justice as Denmark has taken the Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

20.11.2017more
Why judicial appointment procedures matter for citizens?

On Thursday 23 November 2017, the Supreme Administrative Court will hear the matter of the President’s refusal to appoint judge candidates designated by the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland.

20.11.2017more
Prosecutor’s office demands access to information covered by reporter’s privilege. HFHR responds

On Thursday 16 November 2017, Polsat News reporter Ewa Żarska was once again summoned as a witness to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Łódź.

16.11.2017more
After nine months HFHR may disclose court’s order to prosecute refusal to publish Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

Following our interlocutory appeal, the Helsinki Foundation has received a decision of the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście, which ordered that a prosecutor’s office should launch proceedings in the case concerning the refusal to publish the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from 9 March 2016.

16.11.2017more
Aid for foreigners: project concludes

At the end of October, we have completed the project “Navigating Poland II”, which offered free legal and integration aid to migrants.

13.11.2017more
17th WATCH DOCS soon to arrive

The 17th International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film will start on Thursday 7 December at the Muranów Cinema.

13.11.2017more
Interventions for prisoners’ rights

One of the fixed items on the HFHR’s agenda is taking action in cases that involve unprofessional conduct of prison officers or outright abuses of powers wielded by the Prison Service.

09.11.2017more
Solidarity Platform calls on Ukraine to cease pressurising anti-corruption activists

More than 50 organisations from Europe and the US have called on Ukrainian authorities to cease exerting pressure on anti-corruption activists in Ukraine.

07.11.2017more
The draft amendment to National Remembrance Institute Act returns to Parliament

On Wednesday the draft amendment to National Remembrance Institute Act will have its second reading in the Sejm. The 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 […]

07.11.2017more
ON THE MOVE concluded

We have completed the implementation of international project ON-THE-MOVE – The reality of free movement for young European citizens migrating in times of crisis, which attempted to look into the reality of exercising the right to free movement within the European Union in the context of post-crisis migrations of young EU nationals.

06.11.2017more
HFHR issues opinion on proposed law on transparency of public life

The Government has submitted a proposal of public life transparency law for public consultations. The draft law establishes new rules of access to public information, expands the applicability of the obligation to file property statements and introduces provisions protecting whistleblowers. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has submitted a legal opinion on the measures proposed […]

06.11.2017more
Key issues related to draft law on public life transparency

Last week, the Government presented a draft law on the transparency of public life. Proposed provisions raise many doubts.  As part of a coalition of twenty non-governmental organisations, the HFHR presents the key problematic issues related to this legislative proposal.

30.10.2017more
Administrative court again rules in favour of foreign refugee refused entry to Poland

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has decided a case brought by the HFHR’s client, a Tajikistani national who tried to file an application for international protection on 1 February 2017 at the border crossing station in Medyka. The Border Guard did not accept his application and issued a decision refusing entry to Poland, solely […]

27.10.2017more
Meeting with UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights have met Diego Garcia-Sayan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. The conversation was devoted to, among other things, the ongoing constitutional crisis and the independence of courts and judges in the light of proposed reforms of the justice system.

27.10.2017more
Education and work of foreigners in Poland – new publication

The HFHR prepared a new information brochure for foreigners. The publication explains in an accessible way the rules governing foreign nationals’ education and work in Poland and offers tips how to combine the two activities together.

25.10.2017more
HFHR intervenes in case of pre-trial detention of elderly persons

The Helsinki Foundation has been notified of the pre-trial detention of A.D. and W.R., a married couple. Despite their advanced age and bad health, they have been detained for nearly 9 months pending a criminal investigation instituted against them.

25.10.2017more
Imprisoned because of judicial error

Tomasz spent 81 days in prison for the sole reason that another person with the same name had committed an offence during the period of Tomasz’ conditional release. The man has won a personal interests case brought against the State Treasury and is to receive 120,000 zlotys in compensation for moral injury.

19.10.2017more
Administrative court dismisses appeal of Tajikistani national refused entry to Poland

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw has decided a case brought by the HFHR’s client, a Tajikistani national who tried to file an application for international protection on 1 February 2017 at the border crossing station in Medyka. The Border Guard did not accept the application and issued a decision refusing entry to Poland. On […]

17.10.2017more
Minister of Culture interferes with artistic freedom and freedom of expression, HFHR says in statement

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is concerned about actions taken by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, which, according to the HFHR, interfere with such values as artistic freedom or the freedom of expression.

13.10.2017more
Offices of women’s rights organisations searched by police – HFHR issues statement

The HFHR is concerned about the searches performed on 4 October 2017 by the police in the offices of two women’s rights NGOs, Lubuskie Association for Women BABA and the Center for Women’s Rights, located in Gdańsk, Łódź and Warszawa.

11.10.2017more
14th anniversary of Marek Nowicki’s demise

Marek Nowicki, the first and long-sitting President of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, departed fourteen years ago.

10.10.2017more
ECtHR to examine exhumation of Smolensk crash victims

The European Court of Human Rights will examine applications filed by families of victims of the Smolensk crash who oppose the exhumation of their loved ones’ bodies. The two applicants, represented in the ECtHR proceedings by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, allege that their right to privacy and family life, guaranteed under the European […]

09.10.2017more
Detainee dies in custody. HFHR intervenes in Agnieszka Pysz case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights wishes to express its concern over the death of Agnieszka Pysz, an inmate of the Warszawa-Grochów Remand Centre. According to press articles and the Ombudsman’s inquiry, oversight of the Centre’s medical personnel might have contributed to the woman’s death.

06.10.2017more
Court rules for Green Party activists: pro-women rights poster does not insult WW2 resistance symbol

On Thursday, 5 October 2017, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście acquitted the three Green Party activists accused of insulting the Anchor, a sign of Polish WW2 Underground State. The accused have allegedly committed the offence by displaying a poster with gender symbols painted at the tips of the Anchor symbol. The judgment is not yet […]

05.10.2017more
Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers: authorities should take measures to ensure access to legal abortion in Poland

At the September session, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers asked Polish authorities to take measures that would provide women with effective access to legal abortion in Poland, in particular in situations where a woman’s pregnancy results from a crime.

03.10.2017more
National Freedom Institute Act: Helsinki Committee in Poland issues statement

“In our opinion, the adoption of the Act on the National Freedom Institute – Centre for the Development of Civil Society will result in a dramatic restriction of civic freedoms, in spite of the Act’s title”, reads today’s statement of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

02.10.2017more
National Judiciary Council awards Justice System Merit Medal for Danuta Przywara

The National Council of the Judiciary of Poland has presented President of the HFHR Danuta Przywara with the Justice System Merit Medal – Bene Merentibus Iustitiae.

29.09.2017more
Defence lawyer removed from client’s interview: HFHR intervenes

The HFHR has been approached by a criminal defence attorney who claims to have been removed from a client’s interview by a prosecutor for no apparent cause.  

28.09.2017more
Victory of HFHR: dismissed religion teacher reinstated to work

The Regional Court in Poznań has ruled that Piotr Janowicz, a religion teacher and a trade union’s member, should be reinstated to the position of a history teacher. The Court also awarded Mr Janowicz the amount of his salary for the period out of work.

27.09.2017more
ECtHR notifies Poland about application of Roma tenants whose homes in Wrocław were demolished

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to Polish Government the application submitted by sixteen Romanian nationals of Roma origin concerning the demolition of their homes located at the Paprotna Street camp, which had been ordered in July 2015 by Wrocław municipal authorities.

26.09.2017more
Situation in Poland discussed in EU

Prior to the upcoming session of the General Affairs Council, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Liberties have sent an open letter to the Council’s members, commenting on the recent events in Poland.

25.09.2017more
UN Universal Periodic Review: 180 recommendations for Poland

Polish Government has accepted more than 140 recommendations in the areas of rule of law, anti-discrimination and freedom of speech presented by the United Nations Universal Periodic Review that concluded today.

22.09.2017more
More Channel Two and Three journalists returned to work

In December 2016, journalists Wojciech Dorosz and Marcin Majchrowski were dismissed from Polish Radio on disciplinary grounds. Both filed a court action against the dismissal. During a conciliatory hearing held in August, the parties made a settlement, according to which the journalists will return to work at Polish Radio this week.

21.09.2017more
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
The role of European Funds in supporting the integration of migrants in Poland

The below report aims to raise awareness about the conditions in which NGO’s specializing in migration issues function in Poland. We hope that it will encourage broader support for Polish NGO’s in the current challenging circumstances and indeed for any activities that foster integration of migrants in Poland.

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
Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession.

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
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

Cookies EN
Skip to toolbar