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The Senate votes on the amendment to the Assemblies Act

The Senate adopted the amendment to the Assemblies Act. The motion to reject the bill did not win the necessary majority (33 senators voted in favour, 53 – against, and 2 abstained). Senators suggested further amendments to the bill. Now, the bill will be once again referred to the Sejm.

The Senate adopted the amendment shortening the time-limit for registering an assembly with commune authorities from six to three working days. In another amendment the senators lowered the fine for the leader of the assembly who fails to perform his/her duties and does not oppose the violation of public order from PLN 10,000 to PLN 7,000. The scope of responsibility of the assembly leader was also limited.

“Still, the issues of regulations for spontaneous assemblies and the system for appealing against a ban on an assembly remain unresolved. Regrettably, no significant changes were introduced regarding the possibility to ban two demonstrations occurring at the same time and place” – says Adam Bodnar, PhD, Vice-President of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

HFHR, together with other non-governmental organisations (including the Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups), has been protesting the amendment to the Assemblies Act for many weeks. In HFHR’s opinion, the proposed amendments may significantly limit the freedom of assembly.

“We are pleased with the amendments adopted by the Senate, but our appeals have not been entirely heeded yet” – says Adam Bodnar. “I think the Senate tried to reach a compromise in a situation when there was no room for any compromise whatsoever. It would be best if the bill was dismissed in its entirety, and instead works were started on the law on assemblies that would be aligned with European standards” – adds Mr Bodnar.

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