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The fight for human rights – about Dr. Hanna Machińska, Polish Simone Veil

Recent reports on the situation of Polish women, independent media and the efficiency of the Polish judiciary raise a lot of controversy in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, in order not to fall into the trap of cognitive distortion, it is worth to mention outstanding individuals who, despite the difficulties encountered, fight for democracy. This article will be specially dedicated to the person who devoted her whole life to the respect and observance of human rights, Dr Hanna Machińska.

National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture

A democratic country is a country that provides its citizens with freedom, security and equal treatment. This also applies to persons detained, detained or sentenced by the courts. Hanna Machińska, PhD, a former deputy of the RPO office, together with representatives of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, fought for dignified treatment of persons deprived of their liberty [2].

During the tenure of Professor Adam Bodnar (2015 – 2020), as part of the campaign “Poland without torture”[3], meetings and conferences were organised for prison staff. Training was also conducted for police officers on how to prevent torture and degrading treatment. An additional achievement was a significant increase in the employment of prisoners.

It is also worth mentioning the activities of Dr. Hanna Machińska concerning prisoners in psychiatric institutions. In Poland, it has been the case that offenders, due to limited or excluded sanity, were placed in psychiatric hospitals for a period longer than the maximum penalty for the act committed by the person concerned. Dr. Machińska struggled with such injustice, who, among other things, saved Mr. Michał, who spent more than 50 years in a psychiatric institution.

Protection of refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border

The crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border was a critical moment. The media report that the events taking place in the Białowieża Forest seriously violated the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees.

In August 2021, Dr. Hanna Machińska, then deputy RPO, went to the border to denounce the use of pushbacks by the Polish border guards. In addition to the direct counter-reaction, in her report [4] she mentions the appalling conditions prevailing in guarded centres for refugees, where there was a lack of basic medical, legal and psychological care.

The visit of the representative of the RPO office ended with a strict statement from the RPO office [5] and the Council of Europe [6] which clearly indicated that the right to apply for refugee status in Poland had been violated. It was pointed out that it is a constitutional right, guaranteed by Art. 56 para. 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, which meant that it could not be limited in its essence, neither by the provisions of laws, nor even less by acts or omissions on the part of state authorities.

Both the RPO report and the one prepared by the KMPT have been analysed by international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the UN and the EU regarding violations of human rights conventions. Finally, the NGO Amnesty International published a report in April 2022, available on the Amnesty website: Annual Report 2022-23 – The State of the World’s Human Rights.

Great Badge of Advocacy of Meritorious

Dr. Hanna Machińska is primarily a researcher who trains lawyers holding positions in the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Such merit, as well as her full commitment to defending human rights, show that Dr. Machińska is a person who is a symbol of democratic, constitutional and egalitarian values.

That is why Dr. Hanna Machińska was honored with Doctor Honoris Causa in Zurich. In Poland, a few months ago she received the badge of “Meritorious Advocacy”.

Such awards are a signal to Europe and the world that Poland appreciates and prides itself on people who, thanks to their knowledge and experience, watch over human rights and the state of democracy.

Dr. Hanna Machińska is an indisputable authority on human rights issues in Poland and abroad. His scientific achievements place him among those who are the guarantors of a just and lawful state. Her commitment to war refugees, LGBT people and people with disabilities inspires hope for a better tomorrow. Dr. Machińska is a contemporary Simone Veil, who focuses on human dignity, showing the way to freedom, justice and peace.

Editorial Board’s Note: It is worth noting that Dr. Hanna Machińska not only stands as an undeniable pillar in the field of human rights on both the Polish and international stage but also represents a valuable social asset, serving as a foundation for the development of the Polish market.


  1. Department of State – report on the observance of human rights Poland 2022; Access:
  1. Hanna Machińska, Marcin Kusy, Przemysław Kazimirski, Justyna Zarecka, Rafał Kulas, Justyna Jóźwiak, Aleksandra Osińska, Michał Żłobecki, Aleksandra Nowicka, Klaudia Kamińska – Report of the Ombudsman on the activities of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in Poland in 2019; Access:
  1. Office of the Ombudsman – Unofficial report on complaints, interviews, meetings with the Ombudsman of the 7th Term 2015–2020 Adam Bodnar “From office”. Access:
  1. Łukasz Starzewski – Deputy RPO in the media about the situation at the border and migrants- 2022-01-12. Access:
  1. Ombudsman’s office – To the Prime Minister pushbacki Commissioner RE- 20. 06. 2022. Access:
  1. Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Dunji Mijatović – Wypchenici beyond the borders” – April 2022. Access:
Klara Nadolska
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