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UPR Media Briefing Note

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 (Afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

Poland
Represented by 23-member delegation headed by Ms. Grażyna BERNATOWICZ, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Poland page on UPR website.

Troika *

Belgium, Libya, India.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • Over the last four years, Poland made significant progress on the way towards adopting further international human rights instruments; the process of ratification of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities was well advanced and it will have been finished by the end of 2012, and work is underway for the Government to sign the Convention on enforced disappearance this year;
  • In 2001, the Government issued a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures;
  • With regard to children's rights, in June 2010, the Government passed an amendment to the Prevention and Counteracting Domestic Violence Act completely banning corporal punishment;
  • In terms of women’s participation in public life, a quota system has been introduced in the electoral law indicating that not less than 35% of the total number of candidates must be women;
  • On disabled persons, since 2010, disabled persons may vote through proxies, and since 2011, overlays on ballot cards in the Braille alphabet and a possibility for disabled persons to vote by post have been introduced;
  • The Government recently instituted a National Action Plan for Equal Treatment (2012-2017) addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and disability, among other things; comprehensive trainings on equal treatment and non-discrimination will also be offered to public servants and public campaigns are being carried out to promote equality and non-discrimination;
  • Concerning domestic violence and the protection of children, Poland has instituted extensive information campaigns and has introduced a ban on corporal punishment of children;
  • On cases of pre-trial detention and prison conditions, the number of imprisoned has been constantly dropping, down to 95% of the capacities used. The reduction in overcrowding has been achieved partly as a result of wider application of alternative punishment;
  • As regards measures taken to address cases of libel and slander, the head of delegation noted that possible penal sanctions for such cases have been reduced in June 2010;
  • On the issue of abortion, the Penal Code does not envisage any sanctions for women who have undergone this type of procedure; women who have illegally terminated pregnancy were offered medical and psychological help.

(See full statement on the Poland page on UPR Extranet)

Participants

In total, 45 States participated in the discussion:  23 HRC members and 22 observers  (Statements available on Poland page on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The creation of human rights institutions, including the Office of the Ombudsman;
  • Steps to advance the rights of vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, women and children;
  • Efforts taken to improve access to the events of the UEFA football championship this year;
  • The establishment of a national institution for the advancement of gender equality;
  • Legislation to liberalize sentences for libel and slander.

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Measures to address instances of racist acts and hate crimes;
  • Steps to promote and protect LGBT rights; 
  • Measures to safeguard the rights of vulnerable groups, including migrants and those from Roma communities;
  • State policies and programmes on abortion;
  • Steps taken to improve the justice system, including pre-trial detention and access to a lawyer;
  • Efforts undertaken to guarantee access to education for all children.

Recommendations

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Poland. These included, among others: 

  • To strengthen measures to prevent racist violence, hate crimes and discrimination against foreigners, especially Muslims, Roma and people of African origin;
  • To decrease anti-Semitism and discrimination against members of ethnic minorities; to ensure that all racially motivated hate crimes were thoroughly investigated and that violators were prosecuted;
  • To recognize gender identity as possible ground for discrimination and gender identity and sexual orientation as an aggravating circumstances for hate crime and to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code;
  • To combat all forms of racism and hate speech on the Internet;
  • To further promote tolerance through public awareness campaigns and education;
  • To ensure that the LGBT community were able to enjoy the full realizations of their rights and to adopt a law allowing same sex couples to enter into a partnership agreement;
  • To review article 212 of the Penal Code related to criminalizing defamation with the aim of removing it from the Penal Code;
  • To ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman is sufficiently resourced to carry out ant-discrimination functions;
  • To consider ratifying the convention on the rights of migrant workers and their families; to ensure that children of illegal migrants were registered; to ratify ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers;
  • To speed up efforts to ratify the CRPD and its OP;
  • To ensure that women can access lawful abortion in line with the 1993 Family Planning Act; to define the circumstances under which therapeutic abortion was allowed; to maximize efforts to ensure that abortions were conducted in a professional way;
  • To consider ratifying the Third OP on the CRC on communications;
  • To consider ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence;
  • To enact a law to combat the sexual exploitation and prostitution of children;
  • To take more effective steps to eradicate cases of police misconduct including establishing an independent body to investigate such acts;
  • To ratify the Second OP to the ICCPR aiming to abolish the death penalty;
  • To speed up efforts to ratify the Convention on forced disappearances;
  • To conduct inquiries with greater transparency on the alleged existence of secret detention centers;
  • To improve conditions of detention, particularly for foreigners; to ensure that the right to a fair trial was not affected by the excessive length of the court proceedings and of excessive pre-trial detention and to ensure access to legal services, particularly for those under detention;
  • To implement reforms to ensure everyone’s full enjoyment of the right to health;
  • To take measures to guarantee the access to education for all, in particular children from minorities, including the Roma community;

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Poland is scheduled to take place on Monday , 4 June 2012.

 The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

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