“We uphold our opinion expressed in the appeal to the Sejm, Senate and President in December 2016 that the amended regulations of the Act on Assemblies are the excessive and unjustified limitation of the fundamental civic freedom, i.e. the freedom of organizing public assemblies. We protest against vesting the state administration with the right to take the arbitrary and non-appealable decision on limitation of this freedom by granting a privileged status to cyclic assemblies supported the state authorities.” – this is reaction of the Polish NGOs to the verdict of the Constitutional Court of March 16, in which it stated the compliance of the Act on Assemblies with the Constitutional Act.
The statement was signed by: Helsinki Human Rights Foundation, Batory Foundation, Polish Society of Anti-discrimination Law, Amnesty International Polska, Open Republic, Polish Robert Schuman Foundation.
At the end of 2016 we wrote to the parish in Bedoń Przykościelny, to the commune authorities of Andrespol, to the Polish Christian and Jews Council, and to the Cultural Heritage Department at MKiDN. The issue relates to Memorial Place near the church dedicated to the God’s Mother Queen of Poland, where, among numerous plaques, there is also the one that shocks and hurts many people („BYDGOSZCZ JEDWABNE KONIUCHY i NALIBOKI (1.09.1939; 17.09.1939; 1943-1944). National minorities in Poland: the German, Jewish, Ukrainian – through executions and denunciations convicted Poles to death, exile to Siberia, concentration camp, expulsion from home or from the homeland, deportation works, and persecutions. They betrayed Poland in favor of the German and Soviet occupier. God, teach us to forgive”). Within the recent three months we received responses from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, from Andrespol Commune Office and from the District Police Headquarters of the Łódź eastern district.
On April 28, 2017 is the 70th anniversary of carrying out by the communist authorities of PRL operation „Wisła”, as a result of which approx. 150 thousand Polish citizens of Ukrainian nationality residing in the southern and eastern regions of Poland were victims of mass displacement and collective repressions. The goal of the operation was the final solution of the Ukrainian issue in Poland by imprisonment of representatives of Ukrainian intelligentsia in the labor camp in Jaworzno, dispersion of population in the western and northern parts of Poland, ban on cultivating any forms of social life in its national Ukrainian tradition, destruction of the Ukrainian cultural heritage and elimination of the Greek-Catholic Church from the life of community as the institution strengthening spiritual life and identity.
We ask all persons and environments of good will in Poland to support the Union of Ukrainians in Poland in organization of the dignified social commemoration of this tragic – for both, Ukrainians and Poles – anniversary.
What is the role of freedom of speech in the legal system of liberal democracy? How to solve the conflict of freedom of speech with other rights and values protected by law? Answers to these (very topical!) questions shall be given during the 2nd edition of the International Conference In search of the European freedom of speech doctrine, which will be held on March 23-24, 2017 at the Faculty of Law and Administration of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.
The Open Republic is one of the honorary patrons of this event.
„The persistent eradication of Lech Wałęsa’s legend. At the pretext of searching the truth the foundation myth of the recent Polish history, i.e. the strike in the Gdańsk shipyard led by Wałęsa is being destructed. Undisputable facts being the evidence of his brave and courageous attitude during the martial law and in the eighties are being twisted, and his role in the history of Poland is being diminished and is subject to suspicions” – write the signatories of the letter in defense of the good name of Lech Wałęsa. Among 230 signatories are the Chairwoman of the Program Board of the Open Republic, members of the Board, President of the Management Board and its members.
„The Judge Piotr Kozłowski decided that according to the constitutional freedoms ONR may commemorate the murderer of women and children at the place of his crime because “it does not matter how controversial for the public opinion are the ideas manifested by the participants of the gathering”. Dear Sir, and where do you see the space of freedom for the families of victims of murders committed by “Bury”? Where are the fundamental rules of social coexistence, since it is useless to mention to you the ordinary human decency?” – asks Paula Sawicka, the Chairwoman of the Program Board of the Open Republic.
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.