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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

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