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Warsaw. Canceled lecture by Hanna Machińska at the University of Warsaw. Commentary by Adam Bodnar

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The authorities of the University of Warsaw canceled the lecture “And the walls will run, runa, runa”, which was supposed to be delivered by Hanna Machińska, who was dismissed from the function of the Ombudsman in December. Her former boss Adam Bodnar commented on the case. He recalled the recent words of Rector Alojzy Nowak, who emphasized the importance of discussion and the pursuit of truth.

We described the cancellation of Dr. Hanna Machińska’s lecture on Friday. The case was commented on by Dr. Adam Bodnar, former Commissioner for Human Rights.

“At the University, we encourage discussion with arguments, to ask difficult questions and seek answers. Our common goal is to pursue the truth.” – Prof. Alojzy Nowak. Such beautiful words were spoken by the Rector of the University of Warsaw only 3 months ago.” – Bodnar wrote on Twitter.

He referred to the Rector’s speech of October 3, 2022, delivered on the occasion of the inauguration of the 2022/23 academic year at the University of Warsaw. The quote comes from the press release of the university, published after the inauguration. It sounded a bit different in the original, although its message was conveyed (the recording can still be found on You Tube).

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“We want you to have dreams, to have vision, to be able to make mistakes, to be able to fix your mistakes. This is what the University of Warsaw is about, which gives you such a chance. It gives you the opportunity to have views, it gives you a chance to have a variety of views, it gives you a chance to develop – said prof. Alojzy Nowak. – We expect you to respect each other, to respect diversity, to respect different views, to discuss with arguments, to ask difficult questions, to look for answers, because then we will get closer to the truth, and the truth is an end in itself.

Lecture canceled “due to technical reasons”

The information about the cancellation of the lecture was confirmed on Friday in an interview with Dr. Machińska TVN24 reporter Jan Piotrowski. Machińska was informed that the event would not take place “due to technical reasons”.

Earlier, the former deputy commissioner admitted in an interview with “Gazeta Wyborcza” that she was surprised by this decision. And she was to find out about the cancellation from a friend who called the rector’s office of the University of Warsaw to confirm her presence. She also said that the rector did not answer her phone or text message, although they knew each other. Machińska announced that on Tuesday at 5 p.m. she would appear in the auditorium where the lecture was planned to apologize to those who did not find out about its cancellation.

“Gazeta Wyborcza” learned from the spokesperson of the University of Warsaw, Dr. Anna Modzelewska, “that the rector of the University of Warsaw, Prof. Alojzy Nowak, who was shown on the invitation to the lecture as the inviting person, was not even informed about the plans to organize it.”

Dr. Machińska’s lecture was organized by Professor Piotr Węgleński, former rector of the University of Warsaw, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He, too, was surprised by the decision to cancel the lecture.

She was the Deputy Ombudsman

Hanna Machińska has been the Deputy Ombudsman (RPO) since 2017. Earlier, in the years 1991-2017, she was the director of the Office of the Council of Europe in Warsaw. On December 7, the Ombudsman, Professor Marcin Wiącek, relieved Dr. Machińska of her deputy duties. She was replaced by the habilitated doctor Wojciech Brzozowski – head of the Department of Religious Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw.

Machińska has experience and achievements in implementing European legal standards to the Polish legal order, including those concerning the protection of human rights and anti-discrimination law. It is committed to the fight against discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. She is the author of a number of publications on the protection of human rights. While performing her function in the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, she was involved, among others, in activities for the rights of migrants, which was particularly visible during the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Main photo source: University of Warsaw / YouTube

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