Poland slapped by United Nations discrimination committee
02 April 1998
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was critical of Poland’s record on minority rights and racial discrimination when it reviewed the country’s compliance with international standards in 1997. The CERD report (CERD/C/304/ Add.36), published on October 15, indicated that Poland needs to focus attention on promoting the rights of Roma. Among five principal subjects of concern, the UN committee noted that „...serious acts of violence relating to racial discrimination have taken place in the State party during the period under review, targeting especially Jews and Roma minorities”. The CERD report was also critical of the legal framework in Poland with respect to censuring groups disseminating „ideas based on racial superiority or hatred”. in its recommendations, the report states that CERD „[...] recommends that the authorities take appropriate measures to meet the specific educational needs of Roma” and that Poland „[...] adopt a comprehensive programme of action to promote and protect the rights of the Roma population”.
In response to the CERD report, Justice Minister Hanna Suchocka told a news conference on January 14 that the Ministry had prepared a draft resolution on complaints concerning acts of racial discrimination to CERD. She said she believes, however, that the Polish law satisfactorily protects minorities against organisations that propagate racial hatred. ERRC field research conducted in 1997 documented instances of abuse against Roma including racially-motivated crime, police violence, segregated schooling and improper housing. An ERRC report on the human rights situation of Roma in Poland is forthcoming.