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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/7/28/Add.1, 3 March 2008: Poland

1659. In a letter dated 6 August 2007, the Polish Government responded to an urgent appeal sent by the Special Representative on 15 November 2006, concerning threats made against Ms Hejna Katarzyna, a member of the Campaign against Homophobia in Torun, by members of the neo-Nazi organization Blood & Honour (BH). The Government letter stated that the BH-Poland website (Redwatch) which displayed Ms Katarzyna’s personal information, and as such facilitated the threats made against her, was based on a server in the US, where the law permits this. The Prosecutor’s Office asked US law enforcement agencies for legal assistance in obtaining information relating to server and the IP numbers of the computers logging onto the website.

1660. As a result of Polish-US cooperation, the website was closed down twice, but since US law does not ban such organisations, the website was again operational. In view of a criminal investigation being conducted into this activity, the General Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data had refrained from opening administrative proceedings in connection with infringement of regulations on the protection of personal data. To date, Ms Hejna had not complained to the General Inspector concerning the use of her personal data by people connected to BH-Poland.

Observations

1661. The Special Representative thanks the Government of Poland for its reponse to the communication of 15 November 2006, and trusts that the Government will continue to make efforts to ensure that intimidation of and threats made against human rights defenders working in defence of LGBT rights are thoroughly investigated, thus allowing them to carry out their work without fear of such harassment.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Human Rights Defenders-2008-eng