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Further erosion of the Polish democracy:  providing feedback for the first EU Rule of Law Report

Further erosion of the Polish democracy: providing feedback for the first EU Rule of Law Report

The Open Dialogue Foundation provided inputs to the first annual Rule of Law Report, the European Commission’s latest oversight mechanism and a part of its wider rule of law toolbox. Together with experts and practitioners from Poland – judges Dariusz Mazur and Agnieszka Niklas-Bibik, as well as former public media employee, Piotr Owczarski – we submitted our feedback on the worrisome developments in the Polish justice system and media sector in 2019 and the first half of 2020. The European Commission’s initiative will result in the “Rule of Law Report”, expected to be published in September 2020.

ODF’s policy paper on Central Asia published by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

ODF’s policy paper on Central Asia published by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the think tank of the EPP, has just published a new research paper entitled “EU Human Rights Promotion in Central Asia – Between the Dragon and the Bear”, written by ODF’s analysts Igor Savchenko, Kateryna Savchenko and Andriy Osavoliuk. The research paper consists of six sections, tackling a wide range of topics, from the promotion of human rights in Central Asia from the EU’s security perspective, to China and Russia’s influence in the region, including an analysis of how Central Asian regimes have progressively adopted human rights violations from Russia and China.

ODF and ‘Themis’ report on the Polish judiciary published by the European Commission

ODF and ‘Themis’ report on the Polish judiciary published by the European Commission

The Open Dialogue Foundation is one of eight European organisations whose comments and report on the state of the judiciary in EU Member States in the framework of the EU Justice Scoreboard 2020 initiative have been adopted and published by the European Commission. Our study was prepared together with the ‘Themis’ Association of Judges and concerned the state of the Polish justice system.

Statement re. event organised by EU Today in the European Parliament on 23 January 2020

Statement re. event organised by EU Today in the European Parliament on 23 January 2020

We have recently learned of an event held in the European Parliament on January 23rd, 2020, organised by the “EU Today” website. The event’s title, “NGOs: between public good and bad governance”, would suggest the event covered an interesting and important topic, the functioning of NGOs in the EU. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned from one of the unlucky participants of the event, this title was just disguise for another action by “EU Today” founder, former UKIP employee, far-right racist and Holocaust denier, Gary Cartwright, aiming to discredit ODF and our work, specifically in Kazakhstan.

PACE adopts resolution on Poland with ODF’s amendments

PACE adopts resolution on Poland with ODF’s amendments

The 2020 Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), held on 27-31 January 2020 in Strasbourg, was dominated by two topics: the returning of voting rights to Russia (which ODF strongly campaigned against), which was suspended following its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, and the worsening situation in regard to the rule of law in Poland.

ODF holds a side-event on Polish judiciary during 2020 PACE Winter Session

ODF holds a side-event on Polish judiciary during 2020 PACE Winter Session

As is by now tradition for us, we were proud to be present during the 2020 Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held on 27-31 January 2020 in Strasbourg, France. Our delegation consisted of ODF President Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Kazakhstani activist from the ‘Qaharman’ human rights movement Dana Zhanay and Polish persecuted judge Dominik Czeszkiewicz from the Suwałki District Court.

ODF at the December 2019 EP plenary in Strasbourg

ODF at the December 2019 EP plenary in Strasbourg

Just 5 days before Christmas, our team, led by our public affairs director Martin Mycielski, had a quick but very constructive mission to the European Parliament in Strasbourg during its plenary session, with a delegation of activists & human rights defenders from Moldova, including Ana Ursachi, Stefan Gligor, Stella Juntuan & Grigore Petrenco.

“Law and Justice’s Campaign against Polish Judiciary” – ODF’s hearing in the European Parliament

“Law and Justice’s Campaign against Polish Judiciary” – ODF’s hearing in the European Parliament

In light of the ongoing assault on the independence of the judiciary in Poland by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – and especially the recently-exposed hate campaign against judges and prosecutors, orchestrated by the justice ministry itself – the Renew Europe group and the Open Dialogue Foundation have organised on December 12th, 2019, a European Parliament lunch debate with prosecutors and judges persecuted in Poland.

ODF among signatories of the letter to the President of EC regarding the breach of the rule of law in Poland

ODF among signatories of the letter to the President of EC regarding the breach of the rule of law in Poland

Non-governmental organisations (including the Open Dialogue Foundation) and academics specialising in issues related to the rule of law and the protection of human rights, sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission, in which they call for immediate steps to stop the rapidly growing legal chaos in Poland, including prompt submission in the European Court of Justice, of an application for interim measures in Case C-791/19 Commission v Poland, pending before the Court of Justice. The full content of the letter is presented below.