The amendment to the law on border protection is inconsistent with the constitution because of the manner in which it was passed. It was adopted as a matter of urgency, i.e. with limited consultations. The constitution expressly excludes such actions in the case of this type of matter – said Dr. Piotr Kładoczek from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on TVN24. In his opinion, the aforementioned act constitutes “a prosthesis of a state of emergency”.
Until the end of November, a state of emergency was in force at the border with Belarus, which meant that journalists and activists from non-governmental organizations, including medics, were not allowed to enter the area. On December 1, they took effect the provisions of the act on border protection. Its amendment provides for the possibility of introducing a temporary ban on staying in the border zone. Such a ban may be introduced in particularly vulnerable areas along the external border line en route regulation of the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration after consulting the chief commander of the Border Guard. The ban will be exempt from, inter alia, residents or people running a business there. For a specified period of time and under certain conditions, the commander of the Border Guard will be able to allow other people, including journalists, to stay there.
“All this law is unconstitutional”
Dr. Piotr Kładoczek from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights referred to the amendment to the act on border protection on Wednesday in the TVN24 program.
– An act has been passed that provides the minister of the interior with additional powers, which in my opinion is not in conformity with the constitution – assessed Kładoczek. He pointed out that the amendment was adopted by the Sejm under the so-called urgent procedure, which should not be used in such situations.
– The entire act is inconsistent with the constitution because of the procedure in which it was passed – urgently, i.e. with limited consultations. The constitution expressly excludes such activities in this type of matter. The point is that we can always think carefully about whether we, like society, and especially parliament, really need to limit human and civil rights, explained the lawyer.
In his opinion, the act was passed in such a way as to “circumvent the constitutional restrictions on the extension of the state of emergency”. – And this is its main disadvantage. And the second is that it equips the minister of the interior with powers that virtually no one should be endowed with, i.e. determining to what extent in the so-called border zone, where and when it will be possible to limit the rights of movement, entry and number other – added Kładoczek.
“Emergency state prosthesis”
In the opinion of a lawyer from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights on the border with Belarus “we are dealing with a humanitarian crisis unprecedented in the history of Poland”. – The fact that aid and humanitarian organizations, including those providing legal assistance to people who cross the border illegally, are not allowed to enter this zone is scandalous and inconsistent with all human rights standards guaranteed by international regulations – said Kładoczyn.
As he pointed out, the constitution specifies specific dates of states of emergency so that they would be valid only for a limited period of time.
1. In the event of a threat to the constitutional system of the state, the security of citizens or public order, the President of the Republic, at the request of the Council of Ministers, may introduce, for a specified period, not longer than 90 days, a state of emergency in part or throughout the territory of the state. 2. The extension of a state of emergency may take place only once, with the consent of the Sejm and for a period not longer than 60 days.
– It is known that there may be a situation in which the government has to react suddenly and limit certain rights. But precisely so that these restrictions would not be permanent and would not be implemented in various types of other proceedings, when there is no need to apply them, a time limit was specified. At this time, a sovereign, well-functioning state may think about how to approach a given problem – said the TVN24 guest. Meanwhile – as he added – the deadline has passed and an act is introduced, which is actually a prosthesis of the state of emergency, completely contrary to the constitution.
Kładoczek noted that the amendment adopted by the Sejm did not specify any further dates. – Therefore, the minister of the interior will always be able to say: in a given locality we are introducing not a state of emergency, but restrictions that are actually equal to those provided for in the state of emergency.
Main photo source: Artur Reszko / PAP