Poland pushes human rights and its own constitution to the limits

Poland stands poised to become the first nation in the EU and almost the first in the world to pass a law that would enable compulsory castration of certain offenders. The bill covers sexual crimes against those under 15 years of age, incestuous rape and internet grooming of a minor. MPs voted almost unanimously on Friday for the amendments to the penal code to be passed into law. It still has to pass through the senate but with the Prime Minister’s strong backing and the approval of 84% of the population there is little chance it will be stopped.

The bill states that judges will decide whether or not to chemically castrate offenders 6 months prior to their release from jail. Chemical castration is a series of medical treatments that reduce libido with the hope of deterring sex offenders from committing repeat offences. The procedure, theoretically, leaves no long-term physical damage and the effects are reversible once treatment ceases. We are able to provide no proof of this one way or another and one has to ask the question whether anyone passing this law really cares what the long term effects are?


This change in Poland’s criminal law has come about primarily because of the Prime Minister and nation’s outrage at the case of Poland’s own Josef Fritzl. A few weeks ago, a 45yr old man, Krzysztof B. was arrested in the village of Grodzisk, near Siemiatycze, for imprisoning and raping (since 2002) his now 21-year-old daughter, Alicja B. The daughter was forced to give up her two sons, aged three and 22 months, for adoption. It is believed that Krzysztof B. is also the father of the children.

What is perhaps most interesting is the widely publicised remark of the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk:

Although the plan has drawn overwhelming public support — 84 per cent of Poles approve — liberal politicians and doctors say that forced castration violates human rights and debases the medical profession.

But Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister, has responded: “I don’t think you can call such individuals — such creatures — human beings. I don’t think you can talk about human rights in such a case.”

I’d be interested to know if it really reads the same way in the original, po polsku. This kind of talk, no matter how I feel about the particular issue at hand, makes me very nervous. What else is Mr Tusk likely to feel needs “special” treatment? How far are we all supposed to follow Mr Tusks’s definition of who is and who is not “human”? Do nasty dictators not use similar propaganda to turn opinion against any group of people they decide they don’t like? I can’t get the words “slippery slope” and “thin end of the wedge” out of my mind.

Does this debase the medical profession? More importantly, is this a breach of human rights and against the Polish constitution, which forbids cruel punishment? Or is it a perfectly justifiable punishment for perfectly ghastly crimes? Are you one of the 84% or not?

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22 thoughts on “Poland pushes human rights and its own constitution to the limits

  1. No, I’m not. This proposed law will create a ton of new problems will not effectively deal with the one problem it should. But, in the eyes of the citizens, this will be seen as a sadistic form of punishment and thus appropriate for sex offenders. The world hasn’t grown up much in the last few hundred years and this proposal is proof enough of that.

  2. guest says:

    In England and USA sexual abusers are on a special index and everyone can check it on the internet if i remember right ? is this human ?

    And in Germany sexual abusers also take “castration” pills, before they leave the prison.

    And lets not forget the case when a disabled girl was “castrated” because her mother did not want her to grow.

  3. Domingo says:

    What a cruelty! poor pedophiles…

  4. Steven says:

    Not only castrated, I hope Donald can use his political connections to see to it that sex offenders are brutally raped while in prison also. I really like that Mr. Tusk.

  5. Domingo says:

    Apparently Scatts has his own idea of democracy – where decisions are based not on opinion of majority, but on what “liberal politicians and doctors” say.

  6. Scatts says:

    Domingo, please don’t attribute thoughts and ideas to me that are not there in the text. Thanks.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Would it be all right when a majority decides to exterminate a minority because, according to you, if it’s the majority’s will it must as such be perfectly fine with the ideas of democracy and civilization?

  8. G says:

    “‘violates human rights and debases the medical profession'”

    Surely not more then abortion or euphanasia.

  9. wtf says:


  10. Ania says:

    I suppose that it is clear from now on that the Liberal Tusk is not liberal as in freedom-respecting, but ‘liberal’ as in ‘new breed of socialist, taking liberties’.

    He just declared that some people are not human.

    God save us from socialists, be them Soviet International Socialists or Reich’s National Socialist.

    Those sickos will always find somebody to kill. Nazis killed Jews, Gypsies and Slavs, Soviets killed intellectuals, yeomen, entrepreneurs and nobles. PolPot killed even more.

    I was against Tusk, I didn’t vote for him, I think it’s time to impeach him, because as long as he holds the seat, nobody is safe. While he holds the seat, he gets to rule, so we need a petition to call him off.

    And to think that the whole wide world was so afraid of the Kaczynskis – while praising this de-humanizer.
    (Not that they are perfect, but at least they stood up to Russia, try to run a politics that is not sucking up to a new buyer, and getting in Tusku’s way) But- I haven’t voted for them, either.

    I always vote for Korwin, at least he can play chess.

  11. Pete says:

    First, I think we should castrate them. Then we should discuss whether or not Mr. Tusk is dictatorial. Then we should discuss whether the now castrated were mistreated – or no wait, what about the children who were victimized.
    Oh, it is so confusing. So while we ponder all these legalities, at least the castrated are not doing any more harm.

  12. G says:

    You’ve heard it before but I can’t resist:

    “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.” (Adam Smith)

  13. Peter says:

    This is completely blown out of proportion because the word “castration” is used. If this was deemed “as a chemical treatment for pedophiles that reduces their sex drive” it would be completely kosher.

  14. Bartek says:

    Scatts, here you have the link to the press conference with Tusk’s utterance you quote.


    Personally I think he said what those 84% of Poles wanted to hear and what squares with their sense of justice. Although such move befits rather a populist, not a leader of a party representing middle class – mostly educated voters.

    The almost word-for-word (I don’t know if better) translation from Polish would be:

    I don’t think such scoundrels can be called human beings, therefore I don’t think the defense of human right could apply to them.

    kreatura is a pejorative term, so mistranslated as creature (PL: stworzenie, istota) distorts a meaning of the statement, actually softening it.

    PS. don’t mind my revived translation mania

  15. Ewa says:

    what nonsense

  16. Scatts says:

    Bartek, thanks for that. Very helpful.

  17. Scatts says:

    Agreed, Peter but even then it does not remove the fact that we are forcing drugs into someone to achieve a desired effect. It may very well be the most sensible option but it’s a slippery slope. Why not pump drugs into alcoholics, junkies & highly aggressive people at the same time? There are lots of anti-social problems that can be treated with drugs of one kind or another so why restrict it to these “animals”?

    If there’s a danger of them re-offending then they should stay in jail, surely? But of course that’s more expensive than the drugs so instead we let them out and hope like hell that even with the drugs they don’t re-offend.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Korwin would be first to castrate them, you are not making any sense.

  19. kika says:

    Brad, by “growing up” do you mean it’s all right to be kind, gentle and human to people who rape and torture children ? Would you be so generous if it was your little son or daughter who was repeatedly raped and physically tortured ? It’s very nice and easy to be so “grwon up”, understanding and human as long as it does not affect you personally.
    The prison is not the answer, as these people are sick, they are driven by their hormons from the inside, and no amount of time spent behind bars would prevent them from going back to their old ways. And harming more and more childern.
    That’s a fact – almost 100% of them do it again.
    If you can stop the sickness and disease with some drugs – why not use them?
    To me , this is the most effective and human way.

    Stop thinking of the pedophiles – start thinking about the real victims.
    I am sick and tired of all this “grown up” and human crap.
    Where is the justice?

  20. Ania says:

    Fine, we can impose very harsh punishments of humans – but we can’t call them animals. An animal can be tied to a fence, or killed, but the whole process of judgement and punishment is not sensible.

    You missed my point – about declaring some humans inhuman, not about punishments.

  21. Pistefka says:

    Chemical castration would have to be combined with some form of “re-education” to work. I am thinking of a concerted attempt to make sex offenders empathise with other people and enable them to find some form of self-realisation or authenticity that does not involve perpetrating worse and worse transgressions. Successful rehabilitation of this kind would perhaps negate the need for the chemical solution in the first place.
    However, this would be far more expensive than chemical castration, and much more difficult to get across to the electorate in a thirty second soundbite.

    (If education was viewed as being partly a way to morally improve individuals and society, and not just as training for work or equipping people to go on TV quiz shows then there may even be a a chance of reducing the number of paedophiles and other evil and selfish people. That isn’t the way the wind is blowing.)

  22. Adam says:

    so wouldn’t it be merciful to ‘chemically castrate’ people whose sexual tendencies and mental problems make them carry out such horrible acts? Is it more merciful to let them out on the streets, so they can once again try to deal with their own problems whilst hormonally charged?

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