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Halina Bortnowska awarded Honorary Medal of Commissioner for Human Rights for “Services for Human Rights Protection”

Halina Bortnowska, a member of the HFHR Council, theologian and columnist, has been awarded the Honorary Medal of the Commissioner for Human Rights “For Services for Human Rights Protection”. During the award-giving ceremony, the Medal has also been bestowed on Anna Jakubowska, a soldier of “Zośka” Battalion, an elite WW2 Home Army’s unit, who was later an opposition activist under the Communists’ rule.

“Todays’ awards have a special dimension because they are being given to people whose attitude in life, commitment, devotion, generosity and dedication to others are clear examples to be followed”, said the Commissioner for Human Rights Dr Adam Bodnar, talking about the awarded. Professor Mirosław Wyrzykowski has given a eulogy to Halina Bortnowska.

The justification of the Medal’s award noted that Ms Bortnowska “has the courage to say ‘no’ when somebody is put in a harm’s way. She does not approach any difficult matter, moral dilemma or a single concern with indifference. Her whole life is a great call for rights and dignity for all human beings”.

Halina Bortnowska expressed her gratitude for the award: “I spent the majority of my life on deck, not below. (…) I swore to myself I will not yield to a request to stand aside and watch. No, I need to stand on deck, and perform my duties there”, she said.

Halina Bortnowska is a member of the Helsinki Committee in Poland, and a co-founder of the HFHR. In the 1970s she got involved in the hospice movement in Poland, and was a creator of the first Polish hospice in Nowa Huta. Ms Bortnowska was a long-standing editor of the Znak monthly magazine, and also worked with Tygodnik Powszechny. She is still an active journalist. In 1992 she established a group of journalistic workshops for the youth, which in time has transformed into the Association of Young Journalists “Polis”, with which she has been collaborating till this day. Halina Bortnowska also runs her own blog, “Myślennik Haliny Bortnowskiej”.

The Honorary Medal of the Commissioner for Human Rights has been awarded since 2009. So far, the Medal “For Services for Human Rights Protection” was bestowed on nearly 40 persons and institutions including Jerzy Owsiak, Władysław Bartoszewski, Memorial society, Caritas Polska and Polish Humanitarian Action.

Halina, please accept our heartfelt congratulations.

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