Poland: Govt. passes law limiting rights of environmental activists to protest ahead of UN climate talks

Author: Katharina Rall, Human Rights Watch, Published on: 6 February 2018

"Polish crackdown ahead of climate talks", 1 Feb 18

In mid-January, the Polish parliament passed a government-sponsored bill which, will hamper the rights of environmental activists to protest at UN climate talks in December and subject them to government surveillance. President Andrzej Duda signed the law on January 29.

The summit, known as the COP24, taking place in the southern city of Katowice, brings together states parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and thousands of experts, journalists, businesses, and nongovernmental groups...

The new law explicitly forbids spontaneous demonstrations in Katowice during the talks, which will make it difficult for groups to respond to developments at the climate negotiations...

The new law not only threatens civic space in Poland, but could also limit the success of the climate summit. Activists play an important role in the global climate debate by providing relevant information to policymakers and the media. And nongovernmental groups and indigenous peoples can only carry out their important work where they can effectively exercise their right to freedom of assembly.

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