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Commissioner for Human Rights

POLAND: Commissioner for Human Rights

Main Informations

Overview

Commissioner for Human Rights is the constitutional authority for protection of liberties and human and citizen’s rights as set forth in the Constitution and other normative acts, including the guard of implementation of the principle of equal treatment. In his activities, the Commissioner is integral and independent from other state authorities.

Brief history

Commissioner for Human Rights is the constitutional authority for legal control and protection. In his activities, the Commissioner is integral and independent from other state authorities.

The Commissioner acts pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Commissioner for Human Rights Act of 15 July 1987. The Commissioner is appointed by the Sejm and approved by the Senate for a 5 -year term of office.

The Commissioner for Human Rights safeguards human and civic freedoms and rights specified in the Constitution and other legal acts. In order to fulfill this task the Commissioner investigates whether actions undertaken or abandoned by the entities, organizations or institutions obliged to observe and implement human and citizen rights and freedoms have not led to infringement of the law or the principles of social coexistence and justice, and undertakes appropriate measures.

Under the Act on equal treatment (2010), the Commissioner for Human Rights performs the tasks of the competent authority in matters of preventing violations of the principle of equal treatment. The basic tasks of the Commissioner include examining motions addressed to him, including complaints about the infringement of the principle of equal treatment and undertaking appropriate activities, in accordance with the Act on the Commissioner for Human Rights.

Commissioner for Human Rights is assisted by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mandate type
  • Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body
Litigation powers
  • Representing in front of courts
  • Bringing proceedings in own name
  • Intervening before the court
  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding
  • Intervening before the Constitutional Tribunal
Activities
201020112012201320142015201620172018
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups (e.g. through trainings)noyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)noyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)noyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Recommendations on discrimination issuesnoyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Publications and reportsnoyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Research projects (including surveys)noyesyesyesyesyesnonono
Our institution has a mandate to deal with:
  • Violence against women
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Hate crime
  • Hate speech
Other statistics
201020112012201320142015201620172018
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)no data10331960845864787no datano datano data
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)no data6766521653no data465no datano datano data
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social mediano datano datano datano datano datano datano datano datano data
Management
  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)
Management details

The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights is an auxiliary unit of the Commissioner for Human Rights. It ensures the execution of the Commissioner’s tasks laid down in the Act of 15 July 1987 on the Commissioner for Human Rights.

The tasks and organisation of the Office are defined in the Statute of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, which was granted by the Ordinance No 45/2015 of the Commissioner for Human Rights of 19 November 2015.

The general management of the Office is performed by the Commissioner who manages the Office with the help of three Deputy Commissioners for Human Rights.

The functioning of the Office in organisational and financial terms is provided by the General Director. He represents the Office in civil law, property, budget, administrative cases and cases under employment relationship.

In matters requiring comprehensive collaboration of the Office organisational units and third-party entities, the Commisioner appointed two Main Coordinators.

Additional details

The Office includes 17 statutory organisational units, within which departments and sections operate.

Having in mind the importance and interdisciplinarity of tasks concerning the implementation of the principle of equal treatment, as well as the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, the Commissioner – acting in accordance with the Act on the Commissioner for Human Rights – appointed the Deputy Human Rights Commissioner for Equal Treatment. Department of Equal Treatment was formed within the organisational structure of the Office, which includes the Anti-discrimination Law Unit, as well as the Rights of Migrants and National Minorities Unit. The Department’s objective is to ensure the proper implementation of the tasks of the Commissioner as an independent body for equal treatment and an independent body for the promotion, protection and monitoring of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Within the Office, the Local Representatives in Gdańsk, Katowice and Wrocław, appointed by the Commissioner, are functioning.

The Office employees act under the authority of the Commissioner for Human Rights and on his behalf.

Within the Office, there are also Expert Committees and Social Councils.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The Commissioner is appointed by the Sejm with prior approval of the Senate on the application of the Marshal of the Sejm or a group of 35 deputies.

The Commissioner may appoint up to three Commissioner’s deputies.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues
201020112012201320142015201620172018
no data37889no datano datano data
Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body
Grounds / FieldsEmploymentEducationHousingSocial Protection & HealthcareGoods & ServicesOther
Genderyesyesyesyesyes
Gender Identityyesyesyesyesyes
Race and Ethnic Originyesyesyesyesyes
Ageyesyesyesyesyes
Disabilityyesyesyesyesyes
Sexual Orientationyesyesyesyesyes
Religion & Beliefyesyesyesyesyes
Mandate covers:
  • Public sector
Operating budget in euros
201020112012201320142015201620172018
no data83350588945647921505891095348744883no datano datano data
Operating budget in euros for the parts of the organisation dealing with equality issues (all types of functions).
201020112012201320142015201620172018
no data6359674038687748112717471178225no datano datano data
We are accountable to:
  • National Parliament

Related News

On the fringes of the Equinet board meeting in Warsaw on 16 March, Equinet board members and staff met with key actors in the field of equality in Poland, including the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar, the Plenipotentiary for Civil Society and Equal Treatment and representatives of civil society.

 

The European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) will be meeting with the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights in their upcoming mission to Poland.

 

Back to European Directory of Equality Bodies

General Contact Information

Full name in English:

Commissioner for Human Rights

Full name in the national language(s):

Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich

Postal address:
al. Solidarności 77 00-090 WARSZAWA POLAND
Website:

www.rpo.gov.pl

General email address:
biurorzecznika@brpo.gov.pl
Helpline:

800 676 676

Telephone number:

+48 22 55 17 700

Other social media channels:

https://www.facebook.com/spotkaniaregionalneRPO/

Languages in which your institution can be contacted:

Polish

Person of contact for media enquiries:

Ms Anna Kabulska

Name of the Head of the equality body:

Dr Adam Bodnar

Engagement with Equinet

Contact Person

Name:

Katarzyna Wilkołaska-Żuromska

Email:
k.wilkolaska@brpo.gov.pl