President awards human and civil rights activists from the 1970s

24 03 2007

Source: Rzeczpospolita online, March 24th 2007
Author: Rafał Guz

* * *

Over 30 creators and activists of the Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela (Movement for Defence of the Human and Civic Rights) were awarded in Friday by the President Lech Kaczyński, as a part of the celebrations of 30th anniversary of its establishment.

‘ROPCiO and other underground organisations were the sign of our nation’s resistance to the communist oppression’ – said the president during the ceremony. He added that Poland has to respect Her heroes.

ROPCiO was created by those opposition people, who thought their views do not match the operating since 1976 Workers’ Protection Committee (KOR). Some were in conflict with groups dominating KOR, called secular left, and concentrating around Adama Michnika and Jacka Kuronia. Bogdan Borusewicz, Speaker of the Senate, and local opposition leader in Gdańsk during the People’s Republic, thinks that the Movement enriched the spectrum of democratic opposition in those days. ‘ROPCiO grouped people of more right-wing views than KOR. It was another step in gathering freedom’ – he said.

ROPCiO was established on 25th March 1977. Its manifesto was signed by gen. Mieczysław Boruta-Spiechowicz, Andrzej Czuma, Leszek Moczulski, ks. Ludwik Wiśniewski and Wojciech Ziembiński. Activists of the Movement emphasize its connection to the Second Republic and Home Army tradition, and the Church. Among them were former political prisoners of the ’60s underground organisation “RUCH” (which was discovered by the secret services), veterans of both the Home Army and postwar anticommunist underground.

Respect and defence of human rights was one of the main ROPCiO aimes. The movement also organised help for the oppressed as well as political actions, for example 11th November Independence Day celebrations. Many of its members were imprisoned.

* * *

If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.