Law on Assemblies changed by the Law Amending Law od Assemblies of 13 December 2016.

Download a single text that incorporates amendments adopted on 13 December, 2016. Amendments and additions are marked in red.

The Sejm enacted an amendment to the Assemblies Act. If it enters into force it will significantly restrict individuals’ ability to hold counter-demonstrations and spontaneous demonstrations.

The law introduces the concept of “cyclical assemblies”, or the assemblies that are organised by the same organiser at the same place or on the same route at least four times a year or those that were organised at least once a year in the period of last three years.  A province governor will decide whether an assembly is considered “cyclical”.

According to the law, if a province governor issues permission for the holding of a cyclical assembly at the time and place of another assembly, then a municipal authority will be obliged to prohibit the “non-cyclical” assembly.

The bill also provides that no public gatherings may be organised at the time and place of assemblies by public authorities or those organised as part of the activity of churches and other religious associations.

  • Statement
    Statement by Civil Society Organisations regarding the Constitutional Tribunal ruling of 16 March 2017 on the Law on Assemblies
    Passed by an unlawful panel of Constitutional Tribunal judges, this ruling has deepened the legal chaos in Poland and leads us to believe that the Constitutional Tribunal in its current form and shape is no longer a steward of our rights and freedoms.

    We are opposed to the empowerment of the executive branch to arbitrarily and irrevocably decide to curb this freedom by granting
    priority to regular assemblies politically supported by the Government.

    Full text of the statement below.
  • Opinion
    Opinion of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
    The proposed amendment is an unreasonable restriction on the freedom of peaceful expression of ideas. The Bill limits and weakens the independent standing of spontaneous assemblies and counter-demonstrations, which receive protection under the currently applicable Assemblies Act and also the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Full text below.
  • Statement
    Appeal of 119 NGOs to stop this legislative process and reject the bill completely.
    The amendment will affect every citizen and resident of the Republic of Poland. We do not approve of arbitrary and ungrounded restriction of civil liberties.

    We call on Polish Senators to stop this legislative process and reject the bill completely.
    Meanwhile, we urge the Polish President to use his right to veto this legislation if it is passed by parliament.

    Full text below.
  • Appeal
    Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Press release
    Urging the Polish parliament to reconsider amendments to the law governing public assemblies, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Polish authorities to allow more time for consultation with civil society and other groups that will be affected by the changes.

    Full text below.