Informujemy, że Państwa dane osobowe są przetwarzane przez Fundację Instytut na Rzecz Kultury Prawnej Ordo Iuris z siedzibą w Warszawie przy ul. Górnośląskiej 20/6, kod pocztowy 00-484 (administrator danych) w celu informowania o realizacji działań statutowych, w tym do informowania o organizowanych akcjach społecznych. Podanie danych jest dobrowolne. Informujemy, że przysługuje Państwu prawo dostępu do treści swoich danych i możliwości ich poprawiania.
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€30,000 for ordinance to take down crosses in Warsaw benefited to foundation managed by mayor’s attorney and anti-Church activists

Published: 07.06.2024

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 ·      Warsaw City Hall has responded to mass complaints against Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski’s ordinance banning the display of religious symbols in all offices belonging to the Polish capital’s city administration.

·      City Hall has admitted that the ordinance had been prepared for a fee by an external entity: the foundation “Instytut Miast Praw Człowieka” [Eng. Institute for Human Rights Cities].

·      The foundation received as much as PLN 129,910 (some €30,000) from City Hall to carry out the task, and the process of selecting the organisation as the contractor for enforcing these ‘standards’ may raise serious concerns.

·      The competition was announced on 5 April 2023 – meanwhile, less than a month earlier, on 8 March, the foundation changed its name and added ‘support for the development and implementation of internal policies of institutions and organisations’ to its statutory objectives.

·      Prior to the announcement of the results of the competition, Katarzyna Wilkołaska, who had served as Rafał Trzaskowski’s plenipotentiary for women’s affairs in Warsaw City Hall from 2019 to 2021, and who had been an assistant to far-left MEP Sylwia Spurek from 2021 to 2023, joined the foundation’s board.

·      The foundation’s board also includes Marta Abramowicz and Anna Strzałkowska – LGBT activists, as well as authors of statements calling for the destruction of the Catholic Church.

 

The mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, published ordinance no. 822/2024 on May 8, establishing “standards of equal treatment” in Warsaw offices. One of these ‘standards’ turned out to be a ban on displaying the Cross and other religious symbols: “No symbols associated with a particular religion or denomination shall be displayed in the space (e.g. on walls, desks) in office buildings accessible to the public or during events organised by said office.”

Residents of Warsaw and all over Poland decided to protest en masse against the ordinance, which violates the principle of freedom of religion and its practice as expressed in Article 53 of the Polish Constitution, as well as blatantly contradicting the case law of the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, not to mention the resolutions of the Sejm and the Senate.

To this end, the Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared and made available a template of a complaint against the Mayor’s ordinance, which each resident can fill in, sign, and send to the City Hall address. Such complaints have also included detailed questions submitted by way of a request for access to public information, to which Warsaw City Hall began providing answers on 3 June – i.e. on the last day of the 14-day response period provided for in Article 13(1) of the Act on Access to Public Information.

In response, it emerged that the “standards” established by Rafał Trzaskowski’s ordinance had been prepared by an external body – the ‘Instytut Miast Praw Człowieka’ foundation. The content of ordinance no. 1000/2023 of 12 June 2023 shows that the foundation received the sum of PLN 129,910 (some €30,000) from the city to carry out this task. But the process of selecting the foundation as the contractor raises serious doubts.

The competition for the development of “standards” was announced by the Mayor of Warsaw by means of ordinance no. 669/2023 on 5 April 2023. According to documents available in the National Court Register that is kept by the District Court for Gdańsk-North in Gdańsk (7th Commercial Division of the National Court Register), however, less than a month earlier, on 8 March 2023, the foundation changed its name from “Otwarte Idee” [Eng. Open Ideas] to “Human Rights Cities Institute” (the idea of ‘human rights cities’ is a project of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which was announced on 11 October 2021).

It also added “support for the development and implementation of internal policies enacted by institutions and organisations” to its statutory objectives – and thus, already before the announcement of the competition, the foundation had changed its parameters to perfectly meet the criteria for an organisation involved in the preparation of internal documents for the city.

What is more, even before the competition results were announced, the foundation’s board was joined by Katarzyna Wilkołaska, who, from 6 June 2019 to 14 October 2021, had held the position of Rafał Trzaskowski’s Plenipotentiary for Women’s Affairs in Warsaw City Hall; then, from 2021 to 2023, she was assistant to far-left MEP Sylvia Spurek, with whom she had previously collaborated in the Ombudsman’s office when the office was held by Adam Bodnar, the current Minister of Justice.

Also sitting on the foundation’s board since 2023 are Marta Abramowicz and Anna Strzałkowska – LGBT+ movement activists living in a homosexual union who are known for their numerous statements calling for the destruction of the Catholic Church. Marta Abramowicz served as President of the association Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (“Campaign Against Homophobia”) as a successor to Robert Biedroń, who is currently an MEP from the Left party.

She is also the author of a book published by the far-left website Krytyka Polityczna, under the title Ireland Rises from Her Knees. It is a case study of the de-Christianisation of a Catholic state, the same process which the author would also like to carry out in Poland. In October 2023, Marta Abramowicz gave an interview entitled “Will Poland get a divorce from the Church? This is what this election will decide”, and in February 2024 she stated in another interview that “It was women who stopped the Church. Men created hell for women in the name of God”.

Meanwhile, Anna Strzałkowska has held the position of President of the Tolerado Association for LGBT people and currently sits on the board of the Tęczowe Rodziny (“Rainbow Families”) Foundation. In November 2020, she gave a statement with a punchline calling for the destruction of the Catholic Church in Poland: “Let it fall, a Church like this should fall”. 

To summarise, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski’s ordinance on ‘standards’ prohibiting the display of the Cross as well as other religious symbols was not a spontaneous decision. The competition to select the contractor for enforcing these ‘standards’ had been organised back in 2023, and was won by a foundation managed by a person who, until recently, was directly linked to Rafał Trzaskowski; moreover, this foundation’s board includes two activists who display explicitly anti-clerical prejudices.

“What raises serious doubts is the fact that both the name of the foundation and its statutory goals were changed just before the competition was announced, which gives the impression that the foundation’s activists had known in advance that the competition would be organised. It is difficult to conclude that a task carried out following such a competition deserves to be supported with the amount of almost PLN 130,000 from Warsaw residents’ public money”, emphasises attorney-at-law Nikodem Bernaciak, Senior Analyst at the Ordo Iuris Research and Analysis Centre.

The prohibition on displaying the Cross was commented by Elon Musk himself as “shamelessly copying stupid things from America” and it has aroused clear opposition in Polish society.

According to a survey conducted by Research Partner, 45% of Poles oppose the ban (with 39% in favour); while according to annother research by IBRiS, as many as 56% of Poles are against it (with 35.2% in favour). Trzaskowski’s ban was met with strong criticism not only from the spokesman of the Archdiocese of Warsawthe Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz and Cardinal Grzegorz Ryś from Lodz, and the Social Affairs Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, but also from the Speaker of the Sejm Szymon Hołownia and Senior Speaker Marek Sawicki.

Trzaskowski’s ordinance likewise stands in apparent contradiction to a key policy document of his own political party – the Krakow Declaration of 18 May 2003, in which the Civic Platform declared: “We will defend the rights of religion, family, and traditional customs, because these values are especially needed in modern Europe”.

Meanwhile, the Ordo Iuris Institute has already collected almost 60,000 signatures on a petition to defend the right to display religious symbols on the walls of offices, as well as on officials’ desks. As can be read in the petition, “The ordinance of the Mayor of Warsaw not only constitutes an attack on religious freedom, but also imposes radical gender ideology on the employees of Warsaw offices. The document reads, among other things, that Warsaw officials should address transgender or non-binary people using their preferred pronouns and inquire about pronouns before starting a conversation. Furthermore, City Hall encourages officials to use feminatives and impersonal forms.”

“It is not surprising that the ordinance is so radically anti-clerical, not to mention detrimental to the rights of believers and those attached to the Cross and religious symbols, since, thanks to information obtained from Warsaw City Hall at the request of supporters of the Ordo Iuris Institute, it is now becoming clear that it was prepared by an external entity: a foundation of extreme left-wing activists”, adds attorney Nikodem Bernaciak.

 

 

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