On September 1 2017 Goleniowskie Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Historycznej Biały Grosz informed about devastation of the Jewish cemetery in Maszew. The cemetery has been since 2016 entered by the Western Pomerania Monument Conservator in the Provincial Monument Register. In June 2017 the plot, on which the old cemetery was located, was bought by a private investor, who began construction works there. When the building equipment started work on the plot, the remnants of the dead buried in the Maszew cemetery were found.
We sent a letter regarding this case to the Commune Office in Maszew and to the Provincial Monument Conservator in Szczecin.
AEDH (European Human Rights Defense Association), the member of which is the Open Republic, sent an open letter in which it asked the members of the General Affairs Council for taking a firm position toward Poland. The signatories of the letter call on representatives of the Council to intensify action against threats to democracy in the European Union’s member states.
“Motivated by the civic concern we approach you as the instance supervising the National Radical Camp (KRS 439902), and its Krakow branch, National Radical Camp Małopolska Brigade (KRS 612589). ONR is the extension of the pre-war formation of the same name, associated with the disgraceful events in the history of Poland – cult of violence, race hatred, pogroms, anti-Semitism. (…) Goals and actions of ONR are clearly in conflict with Polish constitutional act.
On September 20 2017 representatives of the Democracy Defense Committee, Civic Platform, German Minority, Modern Party, Polish Popular Party, Open Republic and Democratic Left Alliance signed Opole Declaration, in which they undertake to defend constitutional values and to act for development of society open to cooperation, respect, and responsibility. On behalf of the Open Republic Declaration was signed by Magdalena Czyż – Vice-President of the Management Board.
In a publication signed by Ordo Iuris Foundation and dealing with the program conducted by Stefan Batory Foundation Citizens for Democracy, financed from the funds of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 (the so called EOG Funds), false charges are contained regarding the Foundation. Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Open Republic was one of the grant recipients of the so called Norwegian funds.
Since we have been mentioned by the authors of the report, who described our activity as struggling against the so called “hate speech” and “hate acts”, we would like to add that phenomena put by them in the converted comas are not the phenomena of minor importance. Hate speech and acts are increasing in Poland. Every day we see and hear the information on the cases of the physical and verbal attack on the persons with a different skin color, ethnic or national origin, religion or sexual orientation.
The Open Republic has one superior goal in its activities: we want to live in the community free from prejudice, respecting another man and caring about their dignity. We defend all those who need this defense. Cases dealt with by our Association have related to both, representatives of religious, national, ethnic minorities but also – which the authors of Ordo Iuris report cannot understand – to representatives of the religious majority in Poland , i.e. Catholics.
We would like to stress that phenomena which we face every day threaten peace and public order. Developing the open, tolerant society is the task for all of us. We want, as doctor Zofia Kuratowska said, everybody who lives in Poland to feel good here. And this is the purpose of our portal “Zgłoś nienawiść” which is run thanks to Batory Foundation, and thanks to which we monitor and intervene in the cases of hate speech and acts.
Damian Wutke, the secretary of the Management Board of the Open Republic, in his conversation with “Nasze słowo” – the Ukrainian minority weekly, spoke about the conclusions from the monitoring conducted by us through www.zglosnienawisc.otwarta.org portal. The problem of the ruling party’s acceptance of hate speech which floods in the public space and media responsibility for the discussion level were also discussed.
Conversation in Ukrainian is available on the website of “Nasze słowo”.
Professor Krzysztof Podemski, sociologist from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and member of the Open Republic’s Management Board, was a guest in WTK Play local station. In the broadcast on September 4 he spoke about the origin of hatred to foreigners, which is visible in Poznań and in the whole Poland. He stated that the pejorative word “wog” came to Poland together with the returning migrants. He also spoke about media responsibility referring to the manner of presenting information on offences committed by refugees, which emphasizes otherness of perpetrators.
„Language shapes reality and thus constitutes an important tool to counteract social exclusion – including disabled people. We express our concern by the fact that in the leading opinion-creating media we see the pejoratively biased descriptions of disabled people, including the content which especially depreciates the group of people with intellectual or psychical disability. This has impact on the social perception of such people, and leads to the strengthening of stereotypes which are the starting point for unequal treatment of people due to their efficiency degree in the professional, social or family life” – writes Fundacja Kulawa Warszawa [Lame Warsaw Foundation] in the letter to journalists, which the Open Republic signed.
The unexpected presidential veto has temporarily stemmed reforms that could have significantly undercut judicial independence. While the veto may partly demonstrate the value of formal checks and balances, even when the same political group controls all veto players, it may have merely delayed the train of the ‘revolution-by-law’ that could soon sweep presidents of ordinary courts, CSOs and the private media – writes Łukasz Bojarski.
On 7 July 2017 we filed a notification of the possibility of committing an offence prosecuted ex officio by the administrator of the website of the Polish Ku Klux Klan brotherhood. On 28 July the District Prosecutor’s Office Warszawa – Żoliborz instituted investigation regarding this case, analyzing it from the point of view of inciting to hatred by placing on this website the racist content related to an idea of the white race supremacy and fascist symbols.