Supporting Civil Society and Civil Rights in Katowice
6 May 2018
ECO congratulates Mr. MichaÅ‚ Kurtyka on his nomination as the COP24 president and looks forward to the opportunities this week brings for Parties and civil society to meet the upcoming presidency. With high stakes for this year’s COP €“ both in relation to the level of ambition and to the implementation of the guidelines, the Polish leadership will be key to the success of COP.
Yet, one of the first steps taken by Poland during the process of organising this coming COP was the adoption of a law containing provisions seeking to curtail civil and political rights in relation to the event. This law authorises the police to violate the privacy of all COP-24 participants, as it usually would only be authorized to do for people suspected of crime. Additionally, the government imposed an exceptional ban on any spontaneous manifestation during the COP.
The issue is so serious that several UN institutions have questioned the Polish government as to whether the law passed by the Polish parliament and approved by the President was compatible with the obligation of the country in relation to respecting the rights of civil society.
ECO recognizes the importance for the Polish presidency to guarantee the security of all COP participants and trusts that the Polish government will adequately deliver this by building on their previous experiences in Poznan and Warsaw.
But the criminalization of civil society participants to the COP undermines the rights of the delegates gathering in Katowice to seek solutions to the climate crisis and will harm the process. The meaningful participation of civil society to COP24 is not a threat to the process but a key to galvanize sufficient political momentum and public support for adequate COP outcomes.
ECO hopes that Parties sharing this belief will raise the issue with the upcoming presidency €“ including during the briefings to be held this week.