Published on 16 April 2021
The removal from office of the Polish Ombudsman is a further blow against the independent protection of the rights of Polish citizens. It follows, and is a consequence of, the politicisation of the judicial appointment process which has been separately reported.
Adam Bodnar was a forthright defender of human rights and a vigorous proponent of good administration and the rule of law. The provision which allowed him to remain in post until a successor was appointed is consistent with best international practice and the Venice Principles, the international standards which set out the key underlying requirements of Ombudsman legislation, designed to secure independence, provide adequate powers and a comprehensive jurisdiction.
There was excellent co-operation between our institutions and we were working to extend the collaboration to improve access for Polish people living in Ireland to my Office. I have had occasion to support the Polish Ombudsman and to make representations directly to the Polish Government regarding the undermining of the independence of the judiciary in my capacity as President of the International Ombudsman Institute. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been supportive in these endeavours.
This undermining of the independent institutions which underpin democratic freedom is wholly unacceptable, and all of us who are in a position to bring pressure for a return to democratic standards should continue to highlight these retrograde steps and seek to bring about the return of appropriate and necessary institutions.
Ombudsman and President of the International Ombudsman Institute