IOI/Poland | Polish Ombudsman receives international support after being sued for a public statement

On 25 March 2019 the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), Mr. Adam Bodnar, invited representatives of different international human rights institutions, including the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), to discuss the current situation of threat that he is facing at the moment. 

The public television TVP (TV Poland) sued the Polish Ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, as a private person for a statement he made on an online portal in relation to the murder of the mayor of Gdansk, Paweł Adamovicz.

Paweł Adamowicz was stabbed to death during a charity event in January this year. Due to continuous extremely negative reports transmitted by TVP about the mayor, the TV channel has recently received a large number of critics. Dr Bodnar, in his capacity as Ombudsman, requested that the public broadcaster´s activities related to Adamowicz should be carefully examined in order to verify whether they were carried out according to the principles of fairness and due diligence. Now Bodnar is being sued by TVP for 300,000 euros in damages for this statement.

Günther Kräuter in his role as Secretary General of the IOI expressed his concern over the situation. Already in 2016 the IOI went on a fact finding mission and published a report with recommendations due to the difficult circumstances that posed a threat to the independent work of the Commissioner. To the current situation, Kräuter states that “this is a new type of threat that puts Ombudsman Institutions under a lot of pressure. The international network of human rights institutions will not tolerate this situation and actively support Adam Bodnar".

Members of the Council of Europe, the European Network for Human Rights (ENNHRI), the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the Organisations for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also participated in this meeting and discussed with Dr Bodnar and his delegation the importance of protecting the independence of Ombudsman Institutions.

This group of Human Rights experts is already working on a statement to support Adam Bodnar. The statement will be published on the IOIs website and submitted to all relevant stakeholders.


Source: International Ombudsman Institute


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