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Opinia HFPC ws. nowelizacji Prawa łowieckiego EN

The Sejm continues to work on amendment to the Hunting Law Act. The proposal currently in works has raised a number of controversies, such as the rule that applicants requesting to have their properties designated a hunting-free zone would be required to prove the existence of a personal worldview justifying the request. Despite the concerns, the bill passed the committee stage with no mention of any modifications as the deputies adopted a procedural motion to vote on the entire bill, without a full reading. The HFHR has sent a letter to the Speaker of the Sejm regarding the session of the Committee for the Environment Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry from 24 June 2015, at which the bill was considered.

Among other things, the planned amendment is to implement the judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal of 10 July 2014 (case no. P 19/13), in which the Tribunal declared previously operating provisions of the hunting law unconstitutional, citing too extensive interference in the right of ownership.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the National Council of Judiciary and representatives of local government authorities submitted many comments in the course of legislative works on the bill. According to the Foundation, all laws that require an individual to prove their own faith or worldview may not only violate the individual’s freedom of religion or belief, which is guaranteed in the Constitution, but also affronts their dignity.

A need to submit a number of modifications, which would improve the draft law’s compliance with legal requirements, also those established by the Constitution, was voiced during the session. Such requests were nevertheless disregarded, and a procedural motion was made to put the draft to vote in its entirety, without a reading, which also means no opportunity to submit any proposals of modifications. The formal motion was seconded by the majority of the Committee members (12 for, 7 against, 1 abstention).

In consequence of that, no detailed discussion was held on the report of a subcommittee, no modification was submitted and none of the concerns voiced against the subcommittee’s report was discussed.

In the letter sent to the Speaker of the Sejm, the HFHR noted that hunting law regulations did not only impact on hunting policies, but also involved animal protection standards or the right of ownership, and as such need to balance all the mutually conflicting values. In order to achieve such balance, a fact-based debate with different stakeholders is required.

The letter reads: “The lack of an opportunity to work on a 45-page report of the subcommittee during the session of the Committee for the Environment Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry on 24 June 2015 begs the question whether the Committee discussed the bill at all.”

The HFHR thinks that the Committee session devoted to the subcommittee’s report should be re-convened in order to hold a fact-based debate on the bill.


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