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The Senate consented to the appointment of Monika Horny-Cieślak as the Ombudsman for Children

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The Senate consented to the appointment of Monika Horny-Cieślak as the Ombudsman for Children. – I would like the office of the Ombudsman for Children not to humiliate or segregate – she said during her speech in the upper house. She argued that “every child is important, beautiful, valuable and that none should be discriminated against.”

On the second day of the second session of the new term, the Senate dealt, among other things, with consent to the appointment of the Ombudsman for Children. Pursuant to the Act on the Ombudsman for Children, the candidate is appointed by the Sejm with the consent of the Senate. The term of office of the current spokesman, Mikołaj Pawlak, ends on December 14. On Tuesday (November 28), the lower house appointed Monika Horna-Cieślak to this position.

After 1 p.m. the Senate started voting, in which 94 senators took part. 66 members of the upper house were in favor of consenting to the appointment of Monika Horny-Cieślak, 15 were against and 13 abstained.

Monika Horna-Cieślak in the Senate

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Horna-Cieślak spoke during the Senate debate on Thursday morning. She recalled that when she was still a teenager, she decided to become a child rights lawyer.

– Right away, during the first year of my studies, I got involved in non-governmental activities. I cooperated with the Nobody’s Children Foundation, which is currently the Empowering Children Foundation, and with the Children’s Rights Committee. It was a time for me when I learned with my own eyes what the reality of children in Poland is like, including those who are harmed. At the foundation, I was both a volunteer and a secretarial employee, a lawyer, coordinator of the “Child-friendly justice system” program, and finally, I was a lawyer – she said, adding that she spent a total of 11 years at the foundation.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, appointed by the Parliament, recalled that while working for the foundation, she realized that “being a lawyer is not enough.” – I knew that to learn about the child protection system in Poland, you had to be a researcher. I started examining court records, she added. She noted that based on this research, she began to create the first social campaigns, including those addressed to the justice system, which argued that it is worth being friendly towards the justice system during interrogations of children.

Horna-Cieślak recalled that she cooperated on the act introducing a child representative whose task is to take care of the child’s interests, including in criminal proceedings. – This act was adopted by the Sejm across divisions. Here, the Senate of the previous term adopted this bill with applause, the lawyer recalled.

The Ombudsman for Children, appointed by the Sejm, was also a co-author of the act commonly referred to as the “Kamilek from Częstochowa Act”. This concerns the act of July 28 signed by the president amending the Family and Guardianship Code and certain other acts. In August, only some of the amended regulations entered into force.

The Sejm appointed Monika Horna-Cieślak as the Ombudsman for ChildrenTVN24

Horna-Cieślak: I would like it to be an office that is a real representative of the voice of young people

– As the Ombudsman for Children – if you agree, of course – I would like to perform this office in such a way that it is an office that is a real representative of the voice of young people. That it is an office that does not speak with its own views, the views of one person. He does not speak with the views of any political party, only with the voices of young people. Young people often go out to the streets to express their opinions. It is important that they know that at the state level there is a body that has its doors open to them, where we meet, talk and discuss. And that there is also a place where it is shown that every person, every child has potential, a Ombudsman for Children It is also about showing children’s potential – emphasized Horna-Cieślak in her speech.

– I would like the office of the Ombudsman for Children to be a place that says clearly: every child is important, every child is a value, every child is beautiful, every child has potential. And it depends on us – also on adults – how we show children that they are important and needed, she said.

She emphasized that she would like the RPD office “not to humiliate, segregate, or say that some children are better, some children are worse,” because – as she said – “every child is the greatest value.” – I would like the office of the Ombudsman for Children to be a stable bridge between young people and the experience of older people, experts from the world of science, but also from the NGO community – she pointed out.

Monika Horna-CieślakPAP/Tomasz Gzell

“Working for children never ends”

Speaking about the areas she would like to deal with as RPD, she emphasized that “work for children never ends.” – It is always a job that requires concentration, analysis, which requires looking at this perspective from different angles and getting to know the opinions of different people – she said.

She emphasized that – as the RPD – she would like to deal with areas related to, among others, mental health of children and adolescents, the problem of peer violence, strengthening peer mediation, violence against children, education, and discrimination. She emphasized that every child is important and no child should be discriminated against in Poland.

She also mentioned, among other things, Internet safety. According to her, the RPD office should have a legislative department that deals with creating law. As she said, the point is for the law to be created with young people in mind.

– I would also like to strengthen international cooperation so that the Ombudsman for Children is a clear voice in the international arena that says that children need to be protected, but also shows what legal solutions are available in Poland and how we can talk together about the fact that childhood is very important, she said. She also explained that she had acted on behalf of children in various places. – I was in the offices of various politicians, in the Sejm, on the street, in the media, because I know how important it is to protect children – she argued.

Main photo source: PAP/Tomasz Gzell



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