(Polish Helsinki Committee) Since the beginning of 2016 the civil society sector has faced numerous challenges detrimental to its works that has and limited its ability to perform its role of promoting democratic participation facilitating government accountability towards the rule of law and human rights standards. The challenges have come in the form of shrinking space for dialogue between civil society and the authorities, changing the process of distributing public funds for NGO and limiting certain freedoms (like e.g. freedom of assemblies) as well as attacks on non-governmental organizations (both physical and by smearing campaigns.
In 2017, the Parliament adopted the Act on the National Institute of Freedom which changes at the national level the process of distributing public funds for NGOs. The law fails to provide any guarantees for open and transparent process of distributing the funds.
In February 2018, the President singed the highly controversial amendments to the Act on the National Institute of Remembrance. The new law establishes civil law remedies for infringements of the good name of the Republic of Poland and that of the Polish Nation. The latter provisions may hamper the NGOs advocacy activity at the international level.
Read the full report on the situation of the civil society organisations in Poland