The Open Republic Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia is one of the Polish NGOs which joined the appeal of international human rights organizations for taking by the European Commission the firm steps towards the Polish government which violates the rules of a law-abiding state.
On January 12, 2017 we sent an open letter to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of National Education, in which we expressed our disbelief and indignation related to the response of the under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice to the MP interpellation relating to discontinuation of investigation regarding incident that took place at the beginning of June 2016. In the School-Kindergarten Unit no. 1 (Primary School no. 192) in Łódź, after the causerie delivered by an ŁKS Łódź fan about exercising sports, children were given calendars with the so called Celtic cross, a neo-Nazi symbol and the slogan “White Pride”. At the end of January we received a reply from the Ministry of National Education which totally avoids presentation of its position about the issue.
The Open Republic Association, Lambda Warszawa Association, Campaign against Homophobia and Criminology Section of the Legal Sciences Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences organize on February 13 – 14, 2017 a scientific conference Hate speech – toward the interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon.
Representatives of different scientific disciplines will participate in the conference (including linguistics, sociology, psychology, legal sciences, history of art and political science), and representatives of the Polish and international NGOs and public institutions dealing with hate speech. The goal of the conference is to look at the phenomenon of hate speech from different perspectives, establishment of a forum facilitating exchange of information on the current state of research in this area, and discussing the possibility and reasonability of developing a more inter-disciplinary approach in examining this phenomenon.
Partners of the conference are Austrian Embassy, Great Britain Embassy and the Office of Euro-Deputy Michał Boni.
The Open Republic Association, together with other members of the European Network against Racism (ENAR), signed a statement calling on the European Union to counteract any forms of racism, hate speech and to ensure better security to representatives of all minorities.
On the occasion of the International Day of Memory about Holocaust Victims, which falls on January 27, NGOs from all over Europe assure that they will do everything to prevent a similar tragedy. They also call on the authorities of EU member states to take firm steps in the struggle against hate speech, all manifestations of discrimination, and to provide a stronger support for civic society. The signatories remind that our best weapon is the over-frontier solidarity in the struggle against hatred.
On January 27 is the 72nd anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. An anniversary of the sweet and sour event. Today, over seventy years from the end of the cruel war and unprecedented homicide, we witness nationalisms raising their head again and increasing hostility toward people with a different skin color or denomination. Some people already raise alarm and warn that what happens before our eyes reminds them what they saw in the thirties of the twentieth century. Others calm them down stating that human race learns from its mistakes and there’s no need to panic. We do not know a clear answer to the question whether the phenomena which we observe and notice have already exceeded an invisible borderline of inadmissible things, have we exceeded the point from which there is no return, is it time to alarm or maybe it is too late for this?
Discussion Never again? – on the phenomenon of racism and xenophobia will take place in the Szczecin monastery of Dominicans on February 5, 2017 on 17:00. Organizers are Refugees Szczecin group and Open Republic Association.
Panel participants: Paula Sawicka, Konstanty Gebert, Maciej Biskup OP, moderator Radosław Ptaszyński.
Hate speech? Discrimination due to sex? Promoting the fascist or totalitarian state system? – we face evil all the time. Open Republic – the Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia scrupulously documents villainies. (…) The political impartiality of OR is rarely met in the Polish Internet. In the basis of villainies there is a category “internet entry being a threat toward a group of people due to their political affiliation” and the entry which OR struggles against is as follows: “I dream about cutting throats of PIS members”… Villainy is a villainy regardless of the target.
The Open Republic attempts to deal with the problem of hate speech and its particularly intensive presence in the Polish reality of the recent years. It is even more important due to the fact that research shows that there is more of this hatred in Poland than the average in Europe.” – writes Witold Bereś about our Association. The tekst „Otwarta, bo myśląca” is available on polskamasens.pl
The government presented the draft act establishing a new institution responsible for cooperation with NGOs – National Center for the Development of Civic Society (NCRSO). Reading the draft suggests the thesis that this will not be the “technical” act transferring the center of mutual relations from the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy to the newly established institution. The solutions contained in the draft anticipate serious changes in the relations between public administration and NGOs. The proposed content of the act does not solve the problems described in justification thereto. In justification, we find a correct description of many current problems of NGOs, but there is no explanation how NCRSO would contribute to their solution. The authors of the draft have not shown why the proposed methods would respond more effectively to the needs of NGOs than the currently available tools and institutions.
On December 6, 2016 the press conference of the Equal Opportunities Coalition was held, during which Paula Sawicka, Draginja Nadażdin, Małgorzata Borowska and Krzysztof Śmiszek appealed to minister Jarosław Gowin to react to the increasing number of attacks on the foreign students in Poland. Monika Wielichowska from the Civic Platform also filed an MP interpellation regarding this issue. The questions she asked reflected the fears and concerns of the Coalition. On December 28, 2016 Aleksander Bobko – the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Science and Academic Education responded to this interpellation.
On January 4 Paula Sawicka, the Chairwoman of the Program Board of our Association was a guest in „Fakty po faktach”, where together with Barbara Nowacka she discussed the reasons of incidents in Ełk, and about the broader problem of racism and hatred. She reminded that all of us, who do not react, have contributed to what happens now. By not reacting we accepted hate speech and now we deal with hate acts. Sawicka also recalled the words of Minister Sienkiewicz („We are coming to get you” addressed to the groups of skinheads and neo-Nazis) and stressed that now such a strong declaration of struggle against hate is missing. She also mentioned that the silence on the part of the ruling party is acceptance and permission for hatred and violence.
Józef Pinior, who is a legend of Solidarity, will not be arrested. District court in Poznań did not take into account the prosecution’s complaint, who requested the 3 months arrest. The judge however considered possible the likelihood of corruption offences in that case. Three judges were unanimous. The defender highlights, that the main objective of the prosecution was the arrest itself.
Pinior in court was accompanied by dozens of members of KOD (The Committee for the Defence of Democracy), former members of democratic oppositions – i.a. Henryk Wujec, Danuta Kuroń, Paula Sawicka (head of the Program Board of Association Against Anti-Semitism And Xenophobia Open Republic), Mieczysław Grudziński, and members of the Theatre of the Eighth Day with Ewa Wójciak, prof. Anna Wolff-Powęska. All of them had the stickers on their clothes: “Pinior today, You tumorrow”.
Danuta Kuroń has submitted to the court over 300 registered guarantees for Pinior, signed i.a. by prof. Maria Janion, prof. Andrzej Friszke, Danuta Wałęsowa, prof. Jerzy Jedlicki (honorary chairman of the Program Board of our assoctiation, Zbigniew Janas, Helena Łuczywo, Wiktor Osiatyński, Aleksander Smolar, Eugeniusz Smolar and the members of the Management and Program Board of Open Republic.