Letter to EU governments on rule of law and human rights in Poland

Together with 87 civil society organizations, NHC draws attention to alarming developments in Poland. We are concerned that the rule of law is undermined and urge the Norwegian and EU governments to address the risk of serious breaches of fundamental EU values.

Changes in the disciplinary regime have since 2017 been used to sanction judges for criticizing justice reforms and referring cases to the Court of Justice of the EU. The lack of independence of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court is a serious problem.

The Polish government’s weakening of judicial independence has gravely affected the health and lives of women and girls in Poland. We are concerned about the rollback of reproductive rights, which has resulted in a near-total abortion ban.

Systemic rule of law violations also affects the human rights of LGBTI people and LGBTI human rights defenders, who have been regularly under attack by the government and law enforcement. LGBTI people experience that access to justice is obstructed and that the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General interfere with judicial proceedings. Their freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is restricted.

Read more about Poland here.

Civic space has rapidly deteriorated. Faced with significant restrictions and reduced access to effective remedies to challenge rights violations, civil society organizations and human rights defenders have mobilized across Poland to denounce rule of law backsliding and reclaim human rights.

Media freedom has deteriorated following state-owned oil giant PKN Orlen’s acquisition of media outlet Polska Press and the dismissal of its employees. Poland’s access to public information law is under review by the politically captured Constitutional Tribunal.

NGO Letter to EU MS on Poland