COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
its 1222nd and 1223rd meetings, held on 7 and 8 August 1997, the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered
the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Poland (CERD/C/299/Add.10)
and adopted, at its 1235th and 1236th meetings, held on 18 August
1997, the following concluding observations.
Committee welcomes the report submitted by the Government of Poland,
which generally follows the guidelines and contains information
about changes and developments that have occurred since the consideration
of the previous periodic report. The Committee also welcomes the
supplementary information given to it during the consideration
of the report. It expresses its appreciation for the dialogue
with the high-level delegation and for the detailed answers given
orally to the questions raised by members.
Committee notes with satisfaction the commitment of the State
party to make shortly the declaration under article 14 of the
Convention recognizing the Committee's competence to examine complaints
of persons who claim to be victims of violation by the State party
of the rights set forth in the Convention.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Convention
economic changes that are still taking place in Poland may affect
the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, especially
of those belonging to minority groups.
C. Positive aspects
recent adoption by the National Assembly of the State party of
a new Constitution, which will enter into force on 17 October
1997, under which the Convention will be directly applicable by
the courts is noted with interest. It is also noted that a new
Penal Code, a Code of Criminal Procedure and a Code of Execution
of Penalties have been adopted and will all enter into force on
1 January 1998.
measures taken by the competent authorities of the State party
in recent cases of incitement to racial hatred are welcomed. The
work of the Ombudsman in relation to the promotion and protection
of human rights is also a positive development.
efforts undertaken by the State party to protect minorities are
welcomed. In this regard, the bilateral treaties, which include
specific provisions of protection against racial discrimination
and guarantees of equal rights with regard to minorities, that
have been signed with neighbouring countries, are an encouraging
development. It is also noted with satisfaction that the Act on
the Elections to the Sejm of 28 May 1993 provides measures for
promoting minority rights in the electoral process.
agreement on relations between the State and the three main Churches
adopted on 20 February 1997 is welcomed, as well as the agreement
between the State and the Jewish communities of Poland in which,
inter alia, the State recognizes their ownership rights
with respect to the property which belonged to those communities
on 1 September 1939 and was taken over by the State after the
Second World War.
D. Principal subjects of concern
the written and oral information provided by the Polish representative,
regarding the self-executing character of the Convention in domestic
law, concern is expressed at the absence of specific legislative
measures to enforce some of its provisions.
is noted with concern that several 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.
is expressed at the insufficient legal framework from declaring
illegal and prohibiting non-political groups and associations
which disseminate ideas based on racial superiority or hatred,
incitement to racial discrimination as well as acts of violence
or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons.
regard to the implementation of article 5 of the Convention, concern
is expressed that the rights to work and housing of persons belonging
to minorities may not be sufficiently protected from racial discrimination
in the current period of economic transition.
is noted with concern that, despite evident efforts made by the
authorities, children belonging to minority groups do not always
have access to education in their own language.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
Committee suggests that the State party fully clarify in its next
periodic report the status of the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in relation
to domestic law. Additionally, it would welcome in the next report
examples of court decisions relating to this matter, if any are
regard to non-political groups and associations which disseminate
ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial
discrimination, as well as acts of violence or incitement to such
acts against any race or group of persons, the Committee recommends
that the State party take all measures required under the Convention
to prohibit their existence.
regard to statistical information on minorities, the Committee
suggests that the State party take all appropriate measures to
compile more precise information and include such data in the
next periodic report.
Committee recommends that the State party also take measures more
fully to guarantee economic, social and cultural rights, as defined
in article 5 (e), for minority groups, including the rights to
work and to housing, and that it include more comprehensive information
in its next periodic report on the implementation of the provisions
of article 5 (e). The Committee also recommends that the State
party adopt a comprehensive programme of action to promote and
protect the rights of the Roma population.
acknowledging the recent efforts made by the State party in this
regard, the Committee recommends that the authorities increase
their efforts to give children belonging to minorities fuller
access to education in their own language. It also recommends
that the authorities take appropriate measures to meet the specific
educational needs of Roma children.
Committee recommends that the next report contain detailed information
regarding prosecutions for acts of racial discrimination.
Committee recommends that the State party ensure the wide dissemination
of its report and of the concluding observations of the Committee.
Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments
to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted at the fourteenth
meeting of States parties.
Committee recommends that the State party's next periodic report
be an updating report and address the concerns expressed by the