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OSCE calls on Duda to veto law banning “Bandera ideology”
09:42, 2 February 2018
OSCE calls on Duda to veto law banning “Bandera ideology”

The amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance that were adopted by the Polish Sejm and Senate, restrict the freedom of expression

09:42, 2 February 2018

Open source

President of Poland Andrzej Duda should veto the amendment to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir said in his statement.

According to him, despite the sensitivity of some historical events, “freedom of expression is of particular importance for historians and academics”.

“History is a matter of independent academic research and of free discussion, not of judiciary decision. The law should be rejected as a disproportionate restriction of freedom of expression. Only when statements constitute incitement to violence or discrimination could they be criminalized,” said Désir.

Related: Donbas: OSCE reports 88 explosions over 24 hours

As we reported earlier, On Friday, Jan. 26, the Sejm of Poland has adopted the amendment to the law on the Institute of National Memory, which bans the so-called “Bandera ideology”. The bill envisages criminal penalty for publicly accusing Poland of crimes committed during Holocaust, of helping Nazi Germany, of military crimes or crimes against humanity. The bill forbids to use the phrase “Polish death camp” when describing concentration camps that were on the territory of Poland. Any citizen of the country, including foreigners that breached the law will have to pay a fine or imprisoned for up to three years.

Amendments to the bill also provide for criminal liability for the denial of the Volyn tragedy and propaganda of "Bandera ideology". The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the adoption of this document. The international community criticized it as "denying the Holocaust and depicting Ukrainians in an unattractive light." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was categorically against the adoption of this law.

Related: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, OSCE Head visit checkpoint near Mariupol

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