POLAND Republic of Poland Rzeczpospolita Polska Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945 Human Rights as assured by their constitution Updated 03 September 2012
Article 11 The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom for the creation and functioning of political parties. Political parties shall be founded on the principle of voluntariness and upon the equality of Polish citizens, and their purpose shall be to influence the formulation of the policy of the State by democratic means.
The financing of political parties shall be open to public inspection.
Article 12 The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom for the creation and functioning of trade unions, socio-occupational organizations of farmers, societies, citizens' movements, other voluntary associations and foundations.
Article 13 Political parties and other organizations whose programmes are based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of Nazism, fascism and communism, as well as those whose programmes or activities sanction racial or national hatred, the application of violence for the purpose of obtaining power or to influence the State policy, or provide for the secrecy of their own structure or membership, shall be prohibited.
Article 14 The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom of the press and other means of social communication.
Article 15 The territorial system of the Republic of Poland shall ensure the decentralization of public power.
The basic territorial division of the State shall be determined by statute, allowing for the social, economic and cultural ties which ensure to the territorial units the capacity to perform their public duties.
Article 16 The inhabitants of the units of basic territorial division shall form a self-governing community in accordance with law.
Local government shall participate in the exercise of public power. The substantial part of public duties which local government is empowered to discharge by statute shall be done in its own name and under its own responsibility.
Article 17 By means of a statute, self-governments may be created within a profession in which the public repose confidence, and such self- governments shall concern themselves with the proper practice of such professions in accordance with, and for the purpose of protecting, the public interest.
Other forms of self-government shall also be created by means of statute. Such self-governments shall not infringe the freedom to practice a profession nor limit the freedom to undertake economic activity.
Article 18 Marriage, being a union of a man and a woman, as well as the family, motherhood and parenthood, shall be placed under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.
Article 19 The Republic of Poland shall take special care of veterans of the struggle for independence, particularly war invalids.
Article 20 A social market economy, based on the freedom of economic activity, private ownership, and solidarity, dialogue and cooperation between social partners, shall be the basis of the economic system of the Republic of Poland.
Article 21 The Republic of Poland shall protect ownership and the right of succession.
Expropriation may be allowed solely for public purposes and for just compensation.
Article 22 Limitations upon the freedom of economic activity may be imposed only by means of statute and only for important public reasons.
Article 23 The basis of the agricultural system of the State shall be the family farm. This principle shall not infringe the provisions of Articles 21 and 22.
Article 24 Work shall be protected by the Republic of Poland. The State shall exercise supervision over the conditions of work.
Article 25 Churches and other religious organizations shall have equal rights.
Public authorities in the Republic of Poland shall be impartial in matters of personal conviction, whether religious or philosophical, or in relation to outlooks on life, and shall ensure their freedom of expression within public life.
The relationship between the State and churches and other religious organizations shall be based on the principle of respect for their autonomy and the mutual independence of each in its own sphere, as well as on the principle of cooperation for the individual and the common good.
The relations between the Republic of Poland and the Roman Catholic Church shall be determined by international treaty concluded with the Holy See, and by statute.
The relations between the Republic of Poland and other churches and religious organizations shall be determined by statutes adopted pursuant to agreements concluded between their appropriate representatives and the Council of Ministers.
Article 26 The Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland shall safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the State, and shall ensure the security and inviolability of its borders.
The Armed Forces shall observe neutrality regarding political matters and shall be subject to civil and democratic control.
Article 27 Polish shall be the official language in the Republic of Poland. This provision shall not infringe upon national minority rights resulting from ratified international agreements.
Chapter II THE FREEDOMS, RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PERSONS AND CITIZENS
Article 30 The inherent and inalienable dignity of the person shall constitute a source of freedoms and rights of persons and citizens. It shall be inviolable. The respect and protection thereof shall be the obligation of public authorities.
Article 31 Freedom of the person shall receive legal protection.
Everyone shall respect the freedoms and rights of others. No one shall be compelled to do that which is not required by law.
Any limitation upon the exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights may be imposed only by statute, and only when necessary in a democratic state for the protection of its security or public order, or to protect the natural environment, health or public morals, or the freedoms and rights of other persons. Such limitations shall not violate the essence of freedoms and rights.
Article 32 All persons shall be equal before the law. All persons shall have the right to equal treatment by public authorities.
No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason whatsoever.
Article 33 Men and women shall have equal rights in family, political, social and economic life in the Republic of Poland.
Men and women shall have equal rights, in particular, regarding education, employment and promotion, and shall have the right to equal compensation for work of similar value, to social security, to hold offices, and to receive public honours and decorations.
Article 34 Polish citizenship shall be acquired by birth to parents being Polish citizens. Other methods of acquiring Polish citizenship shall be specified by statute.
A Polish citizen shall not lose Polish citizenship except by renunciation thereof.
Article 35 The Republic of Poland shall ensure Polish citizens belonging to national or ethnic minorities the freedom to maintain and develop their own language, to maintain customs and traditions, and to develop their own culture.
National and ethnic minorities shall have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.
Article 36 A Polish citizen shall, during a stay abroad, have the right to protection by the Polish State.
Article 37 Anyone, being under the authority of the Polish State, shall enjoy the freedoms and rights ensured by the Constitution.
Exemptions from this principle with respect to foreigners shall be specified by statute.
PERSONAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS
Article 38 The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being.
Article 39 No one shall be subjected to scientific experimentation, including medical experimentation, without his voluntary consent.
Article 40 No one may be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The application of corporal punishment shall be prohibited.
Article 41 Personal inviolability and security shall be ensured to everyone. Any deprivation or limitation of liberty may be imposed only in accordance with principles and under procedures specified by statute.
Anyone deprived of liberty, except by sentence of a court, shall have the right to appeal to a court for immediate decision upon the lawfulness of such deprivation. Any deprivation of liberty shall be immediately made known to the family of, or a person indicated by, the person deprived of liberty.
Every detained person shall be informed, immediately and in a manner comprehensible to him, of the reasons for such detention. The person shall, within 48 hours of detention, be given over to a court for consideration of the case. The detained person shall be set free unless a warrant of temporary arrest issued by a court, along with specification of the charges laid, has been served on him within 24 hours of the time of being given over to the court's disposal.
Anyone deprived of liberty shall be treated in a humane manner.
Anyone who has been unlawfully deprived of liberty shall have a right to compensation.
Article 42 Only a person who has committed an act prohibited by a statute in force at the moment of commission thereof, and which is subject to a penalty, shall be held criminally responsible. This principle shall not prevent punishment of any act which, at the moment of its commission, constituted an offence within the meaning of international law.
Anyone against whom criminal proceedings have been brought shall have the right to defence at all stages of such proceedings. He may, in particular, choose counsel or avail himself - in accordance with principles specified by statute - of counsel appointed by the court.
Everyone shall be presumed innocent of a charge until his guilt is determined by the final judgment of a court.
Article 43 There shall be no statute of limitation regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Article 44 The statute of limitation regarding actions connected with offences committed by, or by order of, public officials and which have not been prosecuted for political reasons, shall be extended for the period during which such reasons existed.
Article 45 Everyone shall have the right to a fair and public hearing of his case, without undue delay, before a competent, impartial and independent court.
Exceptions to the public nature of hearings may be made for reasons of morality, State security, public order or protection of the private life of a party, or other important private interest. Judgments shall be announced publicly.
Article 46 Property may be forfeited only in cases specified by statute, and only by virtue of a final judgment of a court.
Article 47 Everyone shall have the right to legal protection of his private and family life, of his honour and good reputation and to make decisions about his personal life.
Article 48 Parents shall have the right to rear their children in accordance with their own convictions. Such upbringing shall respect the degree of maturity of a child as well as his freedom of conscience and belief and also his convictions.
Limitation or deprivation of parental rights may be effected only in the instances specified by statute and only on the basis of a final court judgment.
Article 49 The freedom and privacy of communication shall be ensured. Any limitations thereon may be imposed only in cases and in a manner specified by statute.
Article 50 The inviolability of the home shall be ensured. Any search of a home, premises or vehicles may be made only in cases and in a manner specified by statute.
Article 51 No one may be obliged, except on the basis of statute, to disclose information concerning his person.
Public authorities shall not acquire, collect nor make accessible information on citizens other than that which is necessary in a democratic state ruled by law.
Everyone shall have a right of access to official documents and data collections concerning himself. Limitations upon such rights may be established by statute.
Everyone shall have the right to demand the correction or deletion of untrue or incomplete information, or information acquired by means contrary to statute. Principles and procedures for collection of and access to information shall be specified by statute.
Article 52 Freedom of movement as well as the choice of place of residence and sojourn within the territory of the Republic of Poland shall be ensured to everyone.
Everyone may freely leave the territory of the Republic of Poland.
The freedoms specified in paras. 1 and 2 above may be subject to limitations specified by statute.
A Polish citizen may not be expelled from the country nor forbidden to return to it.
Anyone whose Polish origin has been confirmed in accordance with statute may settle permanently in Poland.
Article 53 Freedom of conscience and religion shall be ensured to everyone.
Freedom of religion shall include the freedom to profess or to accept a religion by personal choice as well as to manifest such religion, either individually or collectively, publicly or privately, by worshipping, praying, participating in ceremonies, performing of rites or teaching. Freedom of religion shall also include possession of sanctuaries and other places of worship for the satisfaction of the needs of believers as well as the right of individuals, wherever they may be, to benefit from religious services.
Parents shall have the right to ensure their children a moral and religious upbringing and teaching in accordance with their convictions. The provisions of Article 48, para. 1 shall apply as appropriate.
The religion of a church or other legally recognized religious organization may be taught in schools, but other peoples' freedom of religion and conscience shall not be infringed thereby.
The freedom to publicly express religion may be limited only by means of statute and only where this is necessary for the defence of State security, public order, health, morals or the freedoms and rights of others.
No one shall be compelled to participate or not participate in religious practices.
No one may be compelled by organs of public authority to disclose his philosophy of life, religious convictions or belief.
Article 54 The freedom to express opinions, to acquire and to disseminate information shall be ensured to everyone.
Preventive censorship of the means of social communication and the licensing of the press shall be prohibited. Statutes may require the receipt of a permit for the operation of a radio or television station.
Article 55 The extradition of a Polish citizen shall be prohibited, except in cases specified in paras 2 and 3.
Extradition of a Polish citizen may be granted upon a request made by a foreign state or an international judicial body if such a possibility stems from an international treaty ratified by Poland or a statute implementing a legal instrument enacted by an international organisation of which the Republic of Poland is a member, provided that the act covered by a request for extradition:
was committed outside the territory of the Republic of Poland, and
constituted an offence under the law in force in the Republic of Poland or would have constituted an offence under the law in force in the Republic of Poland if it had been committed within the territory of the Republic of Poland, both at the time of its commitment and at the time of the making of the request.
Compliance with the conditions specified in para. 2 subparas 1 and 2 shall not be required if an extradition request is made by an international judicial body established under an international treaty ratified by Poland, in connection with a crime of genocide, crime against humanity, war crime or a crime of aggression, covered by the jurisdiction of that body.
The extradition of a person suspected of the commission of a crime for political reasons but without the use of force shall be forbidden, so as an extradition which would violate rights and freedoms of persons and citizens.
The courts shall adjudicate on the admissibility of extradition.
Article 56 Foreigners shall have a right of asylum in the Republic of Poland in accordance with principles specified by statute.
Foreigners who, in the Republic of Poland, seek protection from persecution, may be granted the status of a refugee in accordance with international agreements to which the Republic of Poland is a party.
POLITICAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS
Article 57 The freedom of peaceful assembly and participation in such assemblies shall be ensured to everyone. Limitations upon such freedoms may be imposed by statute.
Article 58 The freedom of association shall be guaranteed to everyone.
Associations whose purposes or activities are contrary to the Constitution or statutes shall be prohibited. The courts shall adjudicate whether to permit an association to register or to prohibit an association from such activities.
Statutes shall specify types of associations requiring court registration, a procedure for such registration and the forms of supervision of such associations.
Article 59 The freedom of association in trade unions, socio-occupational organizations of farmers, and in employers' organizations shall be ensured.
Trade unions and employers and their organizations shall have the right to bargain, particularly for the purpose of resolving collective disputes, and to conclude collective labour agreements and other arrangements.
Trade unions shall have the right to organize workers' strikes or other forms of protest subject to limitations specified by statute. For protection of the public interest, statutes may limit or forbid the conduct of strikes by specified categories of employees or in specific fields.
The scope of freedom of association in trade unions and in employers' organizations may only be subject to such statutory limitations as are permissible in accordance with international agreements to which the Republic of Poland is a party.
Article 60 Polish citizens enjoying full public rights shall have a right of access to the public service based on the principle of equality.
Article 61 A citizen shall have the right to obtain information on the activities of organs of public authority as well as persons discharging public functions. Such right shall also include receipt of information on the activities of self-governing economic or professional organs and other persons or organizational units relating to the field in which they perform the duties of public authorities and manage communal assets or property of the State Treasury.
The right to obtain information shall ensure access to documents and entry to sittings of collective organs of public authority formed by universal elections, with the opportunity to make sound and visual recordings.
Limitations upon the rights referred to in paras. 1 and 2 above, may be imposed by statute solely to protect freedoms and rights of other persons and economic subjects, public order, security or important economic interests of the State.
The procedure for the provision of information, referred to in paras. 1 and 2 above shall be specified by statute, and regarding the Sejm and the Senate by their rules of procedure.
Article 62 If, no later than on the day of vote, he has attained 18 years of age, Polish citizen shall have the right to participate in a referendum and the right to vote for the President of the Republic of Poland as well as representatives to the Sejm and Senate and organs of local government.
Persons who, by a final judgment of a court, have been subjected to legal incapacitation or deprived of public or electoral rights, shall have no right to participate in a referendum nor a right to vote.
Article 63 Everyone shall have the right to submit petitions, proposals and complaints in the public interest, in his own interest or in the interests of another person - with his consent - to organs of public authority, as well as to organizations and social institutions in connection with the performance of their prescribed duties within the field of public administration. The procedures for considering petitions, proposals and complaints shall be specified by statute.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS
Article 64 Everyone shall have the right to ownership, other property rights and the right of succession.
Everyone, on an equal basis, shall receive legal protection regarding ownership, other property rights and the right of succession.
The right of ownership may only be limited by means of a statute and only to the extent that it does not violate the substance of such right.
Article 65 Everyone shall have the freedom to choose and to pursue his occupation and to choose his place of work. Exceptions shall be specified by statute.
An obligation to work may be imposed only by statute.
The permanent employment of children under 16 years of age shall be prohibited. The types and nature of admissible employment shall be specified by statute.
A minimum level of remuneration for work, or the manner of setting its levels shall be specified by statute.
Public authorities shall pursue policies aiming at full, productive employment by implementing programmes to combat unemployment, including the organization of and support for occupational advice and training, as well as public works and economic intervention.
Article 66 Everyone shall have the right to safe and hygienic conditions of work. The methods of implementing this right and the obligations of employers shall be specified by statute.
An employee shall have the right to statutorily specified days free from work as well as annual paid holidays; the maximum permissible hours of work shall be specified by statute.
Article 67 A citizen shall have the right to social security whenever incapacitated for work by reason of sickness or invalidism as well as having attained retirement age. The scope and forms of social security shall be specified by statute.
A citizen who is involuntarily without work and has no other means of support, shall have the right to social security, the scope of which shall be specified by statute.
Article 68 Everyone shall have the right to have his health protected.
Equal access to health care services, financed from public funds, shall be ensured by public authorities to citizens, irrespective of their material situation. The conditions for, and scope of, the provision of services shall be established by statute.
Public authorities shall ensure special health care to children, pregnant women, handicapped people and persons of advanced age.
Public authorities shall combat epidemic illnesses and prevent the negative health consequences of degradation of the environment.
Public authorities shall support the development of physical culture, particularly amongst children and young persons.
Article 69 Public authorities shall provide, in accordance with statute, aid to disabled persons to ensure their subsistence, adaptation to work and social communication.
Article 70 Everyone shall have the right to education. Education to 18 years of age shall be compulsory. The manner of fulfilment of schooling obligations shall be specified by statute.
Education in public schools shall be without payment. Statutes may allow for payments for certain services provided by public institutions of higher education.
Parents shall have the right to choose schools other than public for their children. Citizens and institutions shall have the right to establish primary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education and educational development institutions. The conditions for establishing and operating non-public schools, the participation of public authorities in their financing, as well as the principles of educational supervision of such schools and educational development institutions, shall be specified by statute.
Public authorities shall ensure universal and equal access to education for citizens. To this end, they shall establish and support systems for individual financial and organizational assistance to pupils and students. The conditions for providing of such assistance shall be specified by statute.
The autonomy of the institutions of higher education shall be ensured in accordance with principles specified by statute.
Article 71 The State, in its social and economic policy, shall take into account the good of the family. Families, finding themselves in difficult material and social circumstances - particularly those with many children or a single parent - shall have the right to special assistance from public authorities.
A mother, before and after birth, shall have the right to special assistance from public authorities, to the extent specified by statute.
Article 72 The Republic of Poland shall ensure protection of the rights of the child. Everyone shall have the right to demand of organs of public authority that they defend children against violence, cruelty, exploitation and actions which undermine their moral sense.
A child deprived of parental care shall have the right to care and assistance provided by public authorities.
Organs of public authority and persons responsible for children, in the course of establishing the rights of a child, shall consider and, insofar as possible, give priority to the views of the child.
The competence and procedure for appointment of the Commissioner for Children's Rights shall be specified by statute.
Article 73 The freedom of artistic creation and scientific research as well as dissemination of the fruits thereof, the freedom to teach and to enjoy the products of culture, shall be ensured to everyone.
Article 74 Public authorities shall pursue policies ensuring the ecological security of current and future generations.
Protection of the environment shall be the duty of public authorities.
Everyone shall have the right to be informed of the quality of the environment and its protection.
Public authorities shall support the activities of citizens to protect and improve the quality of the environment.
Article 75 Public authorities shall pursue policies conducive to satisfying the housing needs of citizens, in particular combating homelessness, promoting the development of low-income housing and supporting activities aimed at acquisition of a home by each citizen.
Protection of the rights of tenants shall be established by statute.
Article 76 Public authorities shall protect consumers, customers, hirers or lessees against activities threatening their health, privacy and safety, as well as against dishonest market practices. The scope of such protection shall be specified by statute.
MEANS FOR THE DEFENCE OF FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS
Article 77 Everyone shall have the right to compensation for any harm done to him by any action of an organ of public authority contrary to law.
Statutes shall not bar the recourse by any person to the courts in pursuit of claims alleging infringement of freedoms or rights.
Article 78 Each party shall have the right to appeal against judgments and decisions made at first stage. Exceptions to this principle and the procedure for such appeals shall be specified by statute.
Article 79 In accordance with principles specified by statute, everyone whose constitutional freedoms or rights have been infringed, shall have the right to appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal for its judgment on the conformity to the Constitution of a statute or another normative act upon which basis a court or organ of public administration has made a final decision on his freedoms or rights or on his obligations specified in the Constitution.
The provisions of para. 1 above shall not relate to the rights specified in Article 56.
Article 80 In accordance with principles specified by statute, everyone shall have the right to apply to the Commissioner for Citizens' Rights for assistance in protection of his freedoms or rights infringed by organs of public authority.
Article 81 The rights specified in Article 65, paras. 4 and 5, Article 66, Article 69, Article 71 and Articles 74-76, may be asserted subject to limitations specified by statute.
Article 82 Loyalty to the Republic of Poland, as well as concern for the common good, shall be the duty of every Polish citizen.
Article 83 Everyone shall observe the law of the Republic of Poland.
Article 84 Everyone shall comply with his responsibilities and public duties, including the payment of taxes, as specified by statute.
Article 85 It shall be the duty of every Polish citizen to defend the Homeland.
The nature of military service shall be specified by statute.
Any citizen whose religious convictions or moral principles do not allow him to perform military service may be obliged to perform substitute service in accordance with principles specified by statute.
Article 86 Everyone shall care for the quality of the environment and shall be held responsible for causing its degradation. The principles of such responsibility shall be specified by statute.
On 2 April 1997, the National Assembly enacted the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. The rights and liberties of the citizenry are detailed in Chapter II and conform with the terms and obligations as set forth in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For a full English translation of Poland's constitution, clickhere.