Poland: complete failure in implementing civic space recommendations

Statement at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council 

UPR outcome adoption - Poland

Delivered by Kinga Lozinska            

Thank you, Mr President.

The Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) and CIVICUS welcome the government of Poland's engagement with the UPR process.

Since its last review, however, Poland has not implemented any of the recommendations relating to civic space and we are deeply troubled to see that Poland rejected 7 recommendations and only accepted 1 of the 11 recommendations it received during this cycle.

We are concerned by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s dismantling of judicial independence and the rule of law, which has been used as a tool to violate civic freedoms in Poland. Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) advocating for reproductive justice are facing judicial harassment and intimidation. Recently, abortion rights activist, Justyna Wydrzyńska was found guilty of aiding an abortion and sentenced to 8 months community service. We are further alarmed by the repeated attempts to diminish media independence through restrictive legislation, government allies acquiring ownership of major media outlets and the filing of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) against independent media.

As a result of these developments, civic space in Poland is currently classified as ‘obstructed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor, indicating the existence of significant civic space restrictions.

Mr President, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) and CIVICUS call on the Government of Poland to take concrete steps to address these concerns, including by:

  • Immediately and unconditionally drop charges against all human rights defenders and ensure that government officials and non-state actors perpetrating intimidation and harassment against WHRDs and LGBTQI+ defenders are effectively investigated.
  • Refrain from further persecuting independent judges who uphold the rule of law and drop all criminal charges against them.
  • Drop all SLAPPs against journalists and media outlets and refrain from further legal harassment against independent media

We thank you.

 Civic space in Poland is rated as "Obstructed" by the CIVICUS Monitor



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