Europe

Rights officials concerned about Polish freedom of assembly

  • FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2016 file photo a sea of thousands of umbrellas carried by women and men participating in a nationwide "Black Monday" strike in protest of a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion in Warsaw. European human rights officials voiced serious concerns Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 over proposed legislation in Poland that would limit the right to freedom of assembly. Proposed amendments to the law on assembly give priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious organizations, to the detriment of other groups. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2016 file photo a sea of thousands of umbrellas carried by women and men participating in a nationwide "Black Monday" strike in protest of a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion in Warsaw. European human rights officials voiced serious concerns Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 over proposed legislation in Poland that would limit the right to freedom of assembly. Proposed amendments to the law on assembly give priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious organizations, to the detriment of other groups. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, women and men hold a protest in front of the Parliament building against conservative government's plans for a total ban on abortion in Warsaw. European human rights officials voiced serious concerns Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 over proposed legislation in Poland that would limit the right to freedom of assembly. Proposed amendments to the law on assembly give priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious organizations, to the detriment of other groups. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, women and men hold a protest in front of the Parliament building against conservative government's plans for a total ban on abortion in Warsaw. European human rights officials voiced serious concerns Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 over proposed legislation in Poland that would limit the right to freedom of assembly. Proposed amendments to the law on assembly give priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious organizations, to the detriment of other groups. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)  (The Associated Press)

European human rights officials are voicing serious concerns over proposed legislation in Poland that would limit the right to freedom of assembly.

Proposed amendments to the law on assembly give priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious organizations to the detriment of other groups.

The lower house of parliament, the Sejm, approved the legislation last week and this week the Senate will debate it.

Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and Michael Georg Link, the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, urged officials in a joint statement Monday not to pass the legislation as it is now and to consult more with civil society.

Muiznieks said it would restrict freedom of assembly for "a large part of the population."