Human rights body fears 'paralysis' of Polish ombudsman

WARSAW, Poland (AP)—On the subject of "paralysis risk" in the institution of the human rights commissioner, or the Ombudsman in Poland, a prominent international human rights body expressed concerns Monday.

The Office of the Ombudsman is an autonomous institution that safeguards individual freedom and civil rights.

Five years of political backlash in Poland, under the conservative nationalist administration, have culminated in foreign concerns.

In a statement on Monday, the Venice Commission, which is the Council of Europe's leading consultative body on constitutional issues, stated that equality of the citizens is of vital importance.

"In a world founded on equality, the rule of law, observance of rights and basic liberty, and effective administration, the Ombudsman is an essential feature," he said.

"Continuity is really necessary" he said. He said.

The term of office of Adam Bodnar, the latest commissar, expired in September but Parliament did not appoint his replacement and it stayed in his place according to statute until the appointment of a new commissioner.

Under Bodnar, the office has been widely recognized as the only State body which has kept its independence from the ruling party, Law and Justice.

Bodnar 's office at times criticized government actions, which eroded judicial independence and used discrimination against minorities, including LGBT people.

Some representatives of the governing Party have requested the Constitutional Court to comment on a law specifying that the outgoing commissioner is performing his duties before a successor is named.

"Defense of human rights calls for consistency and predictability" says Bodnar in a letter to Associated Press.

Therefore, in compliance with the legislative protocol, the next Ombudsman should be chosen.

If the ombudsman could not work fully, the Venice Commission said, "this would have an important negative effect on the defense of the rights of Poles and of everyone living in Poland."

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