From 18 – 20 July 2016 the Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise as a member of an International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) delegation visited Poland to analyse the impact of the current constitutional situation on the office of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights.
For the past years the IOI has been repeatedly informed about difficult circumstances that pose a threat to the independent work of Ombudspersons around the world. As the only global organization for promotion of Ombudsman institutions, the IOI takes these menaces very seriously and supports its member institutions in every possible way.
To have a clear understanding of the situation of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office has seen budget cuts and potential limitations to its mandate in the recent past, the IOI made a fact finding mission to Poland. The delegation consisted of IOI Europe President and Catalan Omubdsman Rafael Ribó, 2nd IOI Vice President and Ombudsman of Ireland Peter Tyndall, IOI Secretary General and Austrian Ombudsman Günther Kräuter, IOI Board Member and Estonian Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, IOI Executive Director Ulrike Grieshofer and Judith Macaya from the IOI Europe Secretariat.
Meetings were held with the presidents or chairpersons of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the National Judiciary Council, members of the Senate, representatives of Government from the Foreign Ministry as well as with the Plenipotentiary for Civil Society and Equal Treatment, the Director of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, NGO representatives, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ombudsman for Children Rights and ODIHR.
The dense programme also included an open debate on the need for Ombudsmen in present-day Europe organised by the Institute of Public Affairs together with the Austrian Ambassador in Poland and a joint press conference.
The IOI delegation will prepare a report about its visit and publish it on its website as well as submit it to all interview partners and relevant stakeholders.
Source: IOI website