Prawa autorskie: Grzegorz Skowronek / Agencja GazetaGrzegorz Skowronek /...

Polish original version of this text is here:

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Statement of civil society organizations on the takeover of the office of the Ombudsman by the parliamentary majority

As representatives of civil society organizations, we object to the hostile takeover of the office of Ombudsman by the ruling parliamentary majority.

We do not accept the fact that our rights and freedoms are de facto limited by Julia Przyłębska’s politically dependent tribunal, the disregard of the fundamental principles of fair trial, including the independence and impartiality of judges, in its work.

The view taken yesterday [April, 15, 2021] by the tribunal is yet another example of the grab of the state by the party in power, the undermining of the foundations of democracy and the circumvention of the provisions of the Constitution in accordance with the principle: “when I am dead the deluge may come for aught I care”.

The provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland do not object the continuation of the Ombudsman’s mission until a successor has been elected. On the contrary, the values enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution and its constitutional principles, such as continuity in the functioning of public authorities, civic trust in the state, as well as the concern that the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens should not be breached, require that this office be held independently by a person who has previously been granted a democratic mandate until a successor is elected.

The opposite standard adopted by Julia Przyłębska’s tribunal means that we are all losing our protector. The people who will be most affected by this change are those for whom the Office of the Ombudsman has been the main refuge and advocate of their rights in recent years.

Therefore, the people who will be most affected by this change are those who are at risk of exclusion for various reasons: people from smaller towns, the elderly, people with disabilities, people in crisis of homelessness, people belonging to minorities, especially sexual minorities, and people in detention centres.

The Ombudsman’s Office received more than 72,000 requests for protection in individual cases in 2020 alone. In the light of recent events, Poland will also lose an important centre for speaking up for women’s rights.

As a civic society, we are also losing an important centre for social debate, a place where forgotten or ignored problems are raised, and where new ideas and solutions are forged. It is one of the last areas where people with different views could meet and respectfully seek common solutions to the problems they encounter.

The tribunal’s decision also poses a direct threat to several hundred people working in the Ombudsman’s Office. There is a risk of purges, an attack on their independence and practices which are known from other institutions taken over in a similar way. We stand together in these difficult times with everyone working in the Ombudsman’s Office. We would like to thank them all, as well as the outgoing Ombudsman, for their hard work in upholding human rights in Poland.

We simultaneously demand that the election of a new Ombudsman takes place in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. We consider any attempt to bypass the Sejm and the Senate in appointing an acting Ombudsman to be a circumvention of the provisions of the Constitution.

We call to the international community to monitor the actions of the ruling parliamentary majority in this regard.

List of signatures of the organizations:

Akcja Demokracja [Democracy Campaign]

The Wiktor Osiatyński Archive

Fundacja Ośrodek Kontroli Obywatelskiej OKO [OKO Centre for Civic Control Foundation]

Centre for Social Initiatives in Gliwice

Social Initiatives Development Centre CRIS

Roman Czernecki Educational Foundation

Federation for Women and Family Planning The Donors Forum in Poland Forum Unia Młodych [Youth Union Forum]

Fundacja “Przestrzeń dla Edukacji” [Space for Education Foundation]

360! Foundation

Fundacja Aktywności Lokalnej [Local Activity Foundation]

Autonomy Foundation

Fundacja Bęc Zmiana [Bęc Zmiana Foundation]

Bronisław Geremek Foundation

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre 50+ Foundation

Chustka Foundation

Silent Rainbow Foundation

ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi

Foundation for Poland

Goodwill Foundation

Fundacja Domu Baudouina [Baudouin Foundation]

The “Iustitia” Foundation for Legal Education

Ecological Foundation “Green Action”

Civil Development Forum (FOR Foundation)

Responsible Business Forum Foundation

Frank Bold Foundation

Fundacja Głuchych Zacisze [Zacisze Foundation for the Deaf]

The Stefan Batory Foundation

Jagoda Foundation Liberal Culture Foundation

Znak Foundation for Christian Culture

Liberte! Foundation

Fundacja Machina Zmian [Machine of Change Foundation]

Lubartów Civic City Foundation

Mundus Cantat Foundation

WE Patients Foundation

Foundation for Pupils’ Rights

STER Foundation for Equality and Emancipation

Fundacja na rzecz Wolnomyślicieli [Foundation for Free Thinkers]

Fundacja Najpierw Mieszkanie Polska [First Flat Poland Foundation]

Fundacja Nowe Centrum [New Centre Foundation]

KARTA Centre Foundation

Panoptykon Foundation

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Foundation

Patria Foundation Full of Life Foundation

Fundacja Pole Dialogu [Area of Dialogue Foundation]

Auxilium Foundation for People with Disabilities, Children and Youth

Fundacja Pomorskie Centrum Psychotraumatologii [Pomeranian Psychotraumatology Centre Foundation]

Przemijanie Foundation

Res Publica Foundation

Childbirth with Dignity Foundation

Rokoko Foundation

Independence of the Kitchen Foundation

Heart of the City Foundation

Shipyard Foundation

School with Class Foundation

Trzeci.org Foundation

Foundation Towards Dialogue

Faith and Rainbow Foundation

Freedom from Religion Foundation

WWF Poland Foundation

Snow Mountain Community Fund

Greenpeace Poland

Ponton Group The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Inicjatywa obywatelska “Chcemy całego życia!” [“We want a full life” Civic Initiative]

Institute of Public Affairs

Janów Association for Assistance HUMANUS

Kalisz Urban Initiative

Campaign Against Homophobia

Committee for the Defence of Democracy

Cracow Institute of Criminal Law Foundation

Stanisław Brzozowski Association Political Critique

International Institute of Civil Society


Citizens of Culture

Wielkopolska Branch of Foster Parenthood Association

National Federation of Polish NGOs

All-Poland Women’s Strike

“Open Republic” Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia

Robert Schuman Foundation

Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business

Polish Tourist Society, Żyrardów Branch

Consultative Council to the All-Poland Women’s Strike

Citizens’ Network Watchdog Poland

Siedlce Association of Helping People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Amnesty International

Spring without Barriers Association

Stowarzyszenie Cała Naprzód [Full Steam Ahead Association]

Stowarzyszenie Dialog Społeczny [Social Dialogue Association]

Homo Faber Association

The Professor Zbigniew Hołda Association

Association for Legal Intervention

Klon/Jawor Association

Women in Film Association

Better World Association

Association of Young Scientists

Tolerado Society for LGBT People

Our Imaginarium Association

NOMADA Association for Multicultural Society Integration

Stowarzyszenie Oświata Polska [Polish Education Association]

Stowarzyszenie Plac Solidarności [Solidarity Square Association]


Association for the Development of the Kaliska Municipality

Śmiałowice Village Development Association

Stowarzyszenie SZERSZE HORYZONTY [Wider Horizons Association]

Stowarzyszenie TAK Trójmiejska Akcja Kobieca [Tricity Women’s Campaign Association]

Tarnowska Rospuda Association

Multicultural Kraków Association

Stowarzyszenie Wspólne Wójtowo [Common Wójtowo Association]

Zachodniopomorskie Smaki Association

Stowarzyszenie Zielone Dzieci [Green Children Association]

The Świętokrzyskie Centre for Social and Cultural Initiatives

Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie [Journalists’ Society]

Zalewska Land Lovers Society

Towarzystwo Muzyczne Ziemi Proszowickiej [Musical Society of the Proszowice Land]

Great Coalition for Equality and Choice

Free Courts

Czulent Jewish Association



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