The system of defense of human rights in Poland comprises both constitutional bodies such as the Supreme Court, Constitutional Tribunal, common courts, and the public prosecution service, and advocacy institutions such as the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children. Collaboration with CSO’s also plays a role in operation of the system. In the last five years, the ruling majority has approved more than 20 pieces of legislation that undermine the independence and effectiveness of institutions that are crucial to defense of human rights. There has also been a decline in the quality of legislative practice, with disregard for public consultations during the parliamentary stage and failure to assess the consequences of enacted legislation.
Under the project conducted by the HFHR, the first comprehensive monitoring of defense of human rights in Poland and changes made since 2015 will take place. The monitoring will include producing reports on the work of the crucial institutions in that system (courts, public prosecution offices, advocacy institutions and CSOs) as well as legal opinions on changes to law that are important from the point of view of human rights. The project will include events that shape public opinion: public discussions following release of each report, six Helsinki Debates, and 20 film screenings in local communities throughout Poland. The films were featured in the Watch Docs IFF. Working with the Norway-based partner, Human Rights House Foundation, the HFHR will monitor activities of international institutions responsible for defending human rights and distribute the monitoring findings in the international arena.
Eight reports, four assessments of the consequences of legislation, and 20 legal opinions in this field will be produced. The results, including the recommendations drawn up in reports and legal analyses, will be used in adjudication activities at national and international level.