Illiberal governments are dismantling the rule of law and democracy in EU Member States. Let’s not let them do the same with the European Union and the Schengen Agreement!

Due to the scandalous abuse of the Schengen Agreement by Polish authorities – using it as a tool for persecution of foreigners and their family members, we appeal to all politicians in the EU for a firm show of solidarity and resistance towards this injustice.

We ask to allow Lyudmyla Kozlovska to return home to the EU, ideally by granting her citizenship of an EU Member State. Such an act of justice would allow her to reconnect with her family in Poland, as well as continue the work of her human rights foundation on EU territory without the risk of future deportation.

The Schengen Agreement reshaped Europe. Moving between European countries has never before been as simple. Border crossings vanished, tourism and economy were boosted, the life of millions of citizens became considerably easier.
Unfortunately, Polish authorities have decided to use this agreement for political persecution. Without providing any grounds nor presenting any accusations, without a court ruling, without means of an effective appeal, with disregard for personal or family circumstances, the Law and Justice (PiS) government uses its Schengen privileges to deport foreigners deemed inconvenient to their rule. The procedure used against civil rights activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukrainian national, is – according to European treaties – reserved for criminals, spies or terrorism suspects.

Lyudmyla has been living in Poland for ten years now, being married to a Pole for five. She has never had any run-in with the law, nor in any way has she caused a threat to public security. Her difficulties started when her husband, fellow activist Bartosz Kramek, began to criticise PiS in social media and take part in street protests against that party’s assault on the independent judiciary in Poland.

Numerous audits performed by the authorities on Lyudmyla’s Open Dialogue Foundation – an NGO defending human rights in post-Soviet states – have so far failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing. Law enforcement never pressed any charges and a court has denied the government’s motion to place the foundation under receivership.

Polish authorities have therefore reached for a more drastic method of persecution – entering an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS), resulting in immediate deportation from the Schengen zone. The method and circumstances in which it was done raise serious concerns of infringement of the European treaties by Poland.

We urge politicians and governments of EU Member States to take action in order to prevent authorities’ further abuse of the Schengen Agreement – a right granted by the European Union – for political persecution. Europe cannot accept this to set a dangerous precedent. We must defend the fundamental values that our union was founded upon, such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as those having the courage to fight for them.

#BringHerBack to the EU!

Signed on the 21st of August, 2018 in Brussels
Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, fmr President of Poland
Anne Applebaum, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize Recepient, Visiting Professor at LSE
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, fmr High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Leszek Balcerowicz, Professor of Economics, fmr Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, fmr National Bank of Poland President
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market
Andrzej Blikle, Professor of Math Science, Entrepreneur, Master in Confectionery
Seweryn Blumsztajn, fmr Polish anti-communist opposition figure & political prisoner
Michał Boni, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Poland), fmr Digitization Minister
Franziska Brantner, Member of the Deutsche Bundestag (Greens)
Michał Broniatowski, Editor-in-Chief, POLITICO Poland
Tom Gerald Daly, Democratic Decay Resource (DEM-DEC), MLS Fellow, Melbourne Law School
Mady Delvaux-Stehres, Member of the European Parliament (ALDE, Luxemburg)
Mark Demesmaeker, Member of the European Parliament (Groen, Netherland)
Tadeusz Diem, fmr Polish Ambassador to Canada & Deputy Defence Minister
Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Johannes Feest, German penologist and sociologist of law, Retired professor of criminal law, Bremmen University
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Member of the Swedish Parliament (Left Party)
Anna Garmash, President, Ukraine Action
Michał Głowiński, Polish philologist, Professor at The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Ana Maria Gomes, Member of the European Parliament (S&D, Portugal)
Quentin Guillemain, President, Cosmopolitan Project Foundation
Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parliament (Greens, Germany)
Laura Harth, Representative to the United Nations, Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party
Patrick Henry, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), vice-President of Avocats Sans Frontières (Lawyers Without Borders)
Agnieszka Holland, Polish film and television director and screenwriter
Andrey Illarionov, Senior fellow in the Center of Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institure, fmr Economic policy advisor to the President of Russia
Jarosław Kaczyński, Polish lawyer, defender of civic activists
Tunne-Väldo Kelam, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Estonia)
Tetiana Kozachenko, Ukrainian lawyer, Board Member, Business-Varta, fmr Head of the Lustration department in the Ministry of Justice
Krzysztof Król, fmr Polish anti-communist opposition figure & political prisoner
Tomasz Lis, Editor-in-Chief, Newsweek Polska
Krzysztof Lisek, fmr Polish MP and MEP (EPP)
Yuriy Lukanov, Ukrainian journalist
Alexandru Machedon, President, StarNet Moldova
Domnica Manole, Moldovan Judge of the Appellate Chamber of Chisinau
Marcin Matczak, Professor of Law, Law & Administration Dpt, Warsaw University
Wojciech Mądrzycki, attorney, fmr Chairman of the Lech Wałęsa Institute
Natalia Morari, Moldovan journalist, President of the Board at TV8
Martin Mycielski, Brussels Correspondent, Gazeta Wyborcza
Andrei Nastase, Mayor of Chișinău, Leader, chairman and cofounder of Dignity and Truth Platform (DA)
Bartłomiej Nowak, Foreign Affairs Secretary, Nowoczesna (Poland)
Sławomir Nowak, fmr Polish Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy
Evan O’Connell, Paris-based EU affairs expert
Laurent Pech, Professor of European Law, Head of Law & Politics Dpt, Middlesex University
Tetyana Pechonchyk, Chair of the Board, Human Rights Information Centre
Marco Perduca, fmr Italian Senator
Marta Petrusewicz, Professor of History, City University of New York
Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Visiting Fellow, LSE
Alexis Prokopiev, Co-founder of Russie-Libertés
Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight, Chairman of Res Publica Nowa
Helen Pushkarskaya, Associate Research Scientist, Yale Medical School
Roberto Rampi, Italian Senator (Democratic Party)
Christine Révault d’Allonnes Bonnefoy, Member of the European Parliament (S&D, France)
Wojciech Sadurski, Professor of Law, European University Institute, Sydney Unoversity, Warsaw University
Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament (Groen, Netherland)
Paula Sawicka, Polish NGO activist, Open Republic Association
Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament (Die Linke)
Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament, (ALDE, Netherlands)
Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, Polish MP, Liberal-Social Group
Ryszard Schnepf, fmr Ambassador of Poland to the U.S. & Spain and Deputy Foreign Minister
Radosław Sikorski, fmr Polish Marshal of the Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Minister of National Defence
Krzysztof Skolimowski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw-Mokotów
Iegor Soboliev, Ukrainian MP, fmr Head of Anti-corruption Committee
The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament
Antonio Stango, President of the Italian Federation for Human Rights
Maximilian Steinbeis, Chief Editor, Verfassungsblog
Jaromír Štětina, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Czech Republic)
Petra De Sutter, Member of the Belgian Parliament (Groen)
Michał Szczerba, Polish MP, Civic Platform
Society of Journalists (Poland)
Alice Stollmeyer, Executive Director, Defending Democracy
Marcin Święcicki, Polish MP, fmr Mayor of Warsaw & Minister for Foreign Economic Relations
Jacob Thaisen, Associate Professor, University of Oslo
Róża Thun, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Poland)
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, Public Foundation ’Ar.Rukh.Khak’ (Kazakhstan)
Alexei Tulbure, fmr Ambassador of Moldova to the United Nations, fmr Permanent Representative of Moldova to the Council of Europe
Jakub Urbanik, Professor of Law, Law & Administration Dpt, Warsaw University
Ana Ursachi, Moldovan lawyer, Founder of the #NuMaTem Movement (EN: I’m Not Afraid)
Julie Ward, Member of the European Parliament (S&D, UK)
Josef Weidenholzer, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President S&D, Austria
Wojciech Wiślicki, Professor of physics, National Centre for Nuclear Research (Poland)
Kornelia Wróblewska, Polish MP, Nowoczesna
Leyla Yunus, Director of Institute for Peace and Democracy, Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, European Parliamentu0027s Sakharov Prize Finalist
Svitlana Zalishchuk, Ukrainian MP, Sub-Committee on European and Euro-Atlantic integration Chair
Tomáš Zdechovský, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Czech Republic)



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