Democracy & Human Rights

Society & Participation

Free media, free people. The fight against disinformation as a global challenge


Disinformation, manipulations, political smear campaigns and a rising pressure on journalists, sometimes even leading to physical attacks  – these are all dangerous phenomena which have become all too painfully known to us during the last years. They pose a direct threat to free journalism, at the same time challenging the very integrity of democratic processes and societies. 

By Gert Röhrborn, Kevin Skrzypczak

Good Will is key, but Knowledge is Golden. Migration as an Indicator of Global Changes


The intense public debate on various social policy issues in Poland that has been carried on for the last several years indicates that economic and socio-cultural developments in the country have accelerated significantly, although not equally for everyone. Some people experience those processes to such an extent that they increasingly demand substantial stability and a fixed direction in the rapidly changing reality. This also applies to the question of socio-cultural diversity, especially the issue of migration.




By Gert Röhrborn

Where do we go when the storm is coming?


The fifth edition of Green Summer University (ZLU), organized by the Green Zone Foundation and the Green European Foundation in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation took place from July 12th to 15th under the slogan “Crossing Borders”. Various supporters of “greening up” European societies met in Janów Podlaski, nearby the Polish-Ukrainian border, where the dialogue between different cultures, religions and languages is especially intense.

By Gert Röhrborn
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Gender Democracy

Embodying an image of history


As part of the herstoric celebrations of the centenary of Polish independence aiming primarily to restore the remembrance of native suffragettes who fought in the Polish independence movement at the turn of the 20th century for the establishment of full legal and social equality between men and women, hundreds of cultural, educational and political events are currently taking place across the country. One of them is HERSTORIADA, a series of Congress Meetings with Herstory in the form of a touring herstoric academy by the Women's Congress. 

By Gert Röhrborn

Polish Feminism. Memory and Dreams of a Free and Just Poland


This year is exceptional for Poland when it comes to celebrating historical memory. Multiple anniversaries awaiting us in 2018 provide ample opportunity to reflect on the contemporary meanings of all those diverse, laudable and difficult events from the modern history of Poland, that is, the centenary of end of World War I and the regaining of the Polish state’s independence in 1918, the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and fiftieth anniversary of the communist regime’s antisemitic campaign against the student revolt of 1968.

By Gert Röhrborn

Women’s View On Ecology


On the weekend of June 16th–17th 2018 in the city of Łódź, the 10th Women’s Congress took place under the main slogan “We Want It All – our Life and our Rights!”. For many years now, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been one of the Congress’ main partners, so we couldn’t miss out on this one as well. This time, we were keen to offer a discussion that would combine the question of women rights and ecological issues.

By Agata Majos
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History & Challenges

Liberal Democracies in Crisis

The world has grown more complex. We must take people’s insecurities seriously and rebuild their trust in the ability of politics to provide solutions. Openness, patience and firmness of purpose: in the fight for modern liberal democracy, this triad is our only hope.  Article by Marieluise Beck, German green politician.

By Marieluise Beck

The Battle for Modernity

Today’s central line of conflict runs between open societies and various forms of Identitarian radicalism. The challenge we face is to reconcile rapid changes in a globalized modern age with our need to belong and our need for security.

By Ralf Fücks
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Politics of protest. Understanding political protest in Central Europe

The project organized in cooperation with Collegium Civitas examines recent popular protest movements in Central European countries. Six expert seminars serve to examine recent protests in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania. Invited country experts will discuss the political background, sociological causes and motivations of protests as well as organizational forms of current mobilizations. The case studies will help us to develop a common analytical framework for understanding political protest in the region. Project description.


All for Equality - Equality for all. Sexual and reproductive rights in CEE

Despite the unquestionable global progress concerning women’s autonomy, their human rights to decide freely and responsibly on sexual and reproductive health remain to an unacceptable degree unfulfilled. Therefore, this particular issue constituted the central theme of presentations at the Fourth International Gender Workshop in Warsaw. 

Strategizing to overcome Gender Backlash in Central and Eastern Europe

In order to reflect on the regional implications of the presumably global trend of “backlash” in gender relations the offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Belgrade, Berlin, Kyiv, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw invited scholars and activists from Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine to attend the Third International Gender Workshop in Berlin (27-29.09.2014).

By Gert Röhrborn

Full Speed ahead, in reverse gear

Polish accession to the European Union, the election of female representatives, and existing European legislation raised high hopes for the possibility of legislative improvements for women and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people. How, then, did the first decade of Polish female representatives in the European Parliament look? Has the presence of Polish women influenced the agenda of the institution? Have there been any issues with legislation concerning equal rights, equal opportunities, and anti-discrimination?

By Anna Dryjańska
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Safeguarding Democracy in the European Union

Publication Series on Europe – Volume 9:

Liberal democracies are under pressure, both worldwide and in Europe. For example, in Hungary and Poland, farright nationalist to nationalistic parties are in government and propagate an ‘illiberal’ democracy. The dismantling of democracy in an EU member state is not a national problem – it is a European one. The study makes clear the dilemma in which the EU finds itself and what possibilities for action are available to it.

Upping the Ante on Bulk Surveillance

The precarious balance between the need for security and the right to privacy will continue to characterize “risk societies” of the 21st century. This compendium by Thorsten Wetzling and Kilian Vieth provides robust oversight practices and good laws that can serve as bulwarks against the erosion of fundamental rights in Europe and America.

Democracy & Human Rights

Democracy is a liberal political system as well as a utopian ideal that we all aspire to. It takes its driving power from active citizens at both the local and global level. In our debates and publications we discuss the current issues that are important for the future of democracy and the question of further European integration, participation, civic engagement, and green politics, both in Poland and abroad. The point of departure for us is the post-war history of Europe, especially the political transformation and cost of demolishing former European divisions from the point of view of individual states and their citizens.

Dossier: For democracy worldwide

Dossier: For democracy worldwide

Dossier in English about numerous ways to support democracy in various countries, including multiple examples of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's work worldwide. Plus interesting case studies and regional analyses which summarise the status quo and future challenges.

Beijing + 20 - Dossier about actions for women's empowerment

EU projects by the Heinrich Böll Foundation