OFOP: Convention of Defenders of Human Rights and the Rule of Law

31 January 2024 | Members' Corner

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on the International Human Rights Day, Polish civil society activists held a Convention of Defenders of Human Rights and the Rule of Law. 

It was a time of celebration and festivity, where we all came together to thank each other for the busy and very intensive time of the pro-frequency campaign, which we carried out together among committed NGOs. Poland’s parliamentary elections held on October 15, 2023 achieved a record turnout (74.38%) and turned out to be a great celebration of civil society. We also met to discuss the most pressing issues concerning the rule of law in Poland and to capture important problems that need solutions with the new government and parliament. 

Human rights organizations in Poland jointly organized the celebration of Convention of Defenders of Human Rights and the Rule of Law ’23. Human rights activists took part in meetings and specialized workshops, panels on the rule of law and human rights, joint celebrations and networking, the Amnesty International Letter Writing Marathon and most importantly film screenings as part of the 23rd WATCH DOCS IFF at Kino Muranów. On Saturday, the 2nd Henryk Wujec Civic Award, which is awarded to people and institutions who foster civil society, was ceremonially presented at an evening gala. Ewa Kulik-Bielińska, director of the Stefan Batory Foundation, was the 2023 recipient of the award. Receiving the award Kulik-Bielińska said: 

“I treat the Henryk Wujec Award as a tribute not so much to me as to the entire team of the Batory Foundation, with which I have been associated for more than two decades. It is thanks to the people who have created and are creating the foundation, the way they understand and carry out their mission, that I have had the good fortune and opportunity to help those who bring help to others. I perceive the awarding of this prize as an appreciation of the role of these people and institutions, for whom it is obvious that human rights defenders, in order to be able to bring help to people deprived of rights and dignity, also need help. Both the tangible one, in the form of material resources , as well as emotional, psychological, political and moral help. They need our solidarity, concern, kindness and support.” 

Organizers of the Convention: National Federation of Polish NGOs/ Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights / Civic Network Watchdog Poland / Henryk Wujec Civic Fund / “Our Ombudsman” Initiative / Amnesty International Poland 

Date: December 8-9, 2023, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews