Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of all UN Treaty Bodies and their follow-up procedures. This does not include the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which are available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/treaties/index.asp
Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.
- UN Human Rights Committee
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
Report published: 23 November 2016
Rights of aliens: The Committee is concerned about the high number of asylum seekers and migrants, including children, detained in centres that are guarded. The Committee is also concerned at statements by State authorities in which they refuse to accept refugees of the Muslim faith. The Committee is further concerned about the difficulties asylum seekers face in applying for asylum at the border with Belarus in Terespol, where there is no adequate system to identify people in need of international protection. The State party should Ensure that children are not deprived of liberty except as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, taking into account their best interests (paras 31, 32).
Last reported: 12 and 13 October 2010
Concluding Observations issued: 26 October 2010
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Roma children and education: The Committee remains concerned about the continued social marginalization and discrimination faced by members of the Roma minority, especially in the fields of education, employment and housing. (arts. 2, 26 and 27) (Para 7)
The State party should continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the practical enjoyment by the Roma of their rights under the Covenant by implementing and reinforcing effective measures to prevent and address discrimination and the serious social and economic situation of the Roma.
Health: The Committee is concerned that, in practice, many women are denied access to reproductive health services, including contraception counselling, prenatal testing and lawful interruption of pregnancy. It notes with concern that procedural safeguards contained in article 39 of the Act of 5 December 1996 on the Medical Profession (“conscience clause”) are often inappropriately applied. It also notes with concern that illegal abortions are reportedly very common (with estimates of 150,000 illegal abortions per year), that unsafe abortions have, in some cases, caused women’s deaths and that those aiding or abetting abortions (such as husbands or parents) have been convicted. It finally notes with concern that a medical commission’s decision on a complaint relating to a dissenting medical opinion about an abortion can be unduly delayed because of the 30-day response deadline. (art. 6) (Para. 12)
The State party should urgently review the effects of the restrictive anti- abortion law on women. It should conduct research into and provide statistics on the use of illegal abortion. It should introduce regulations to prohibit the improper use and performance of the “conscience clause” by the medical profession. The State party should also drastically reduce medical commissions’ response deadline in cases related to abortions. Finally, the State party should strengthen measures aimed at the prevention of unwanted pregnancies by inter alia making a comprehensive range of contraceptives widely available at an affordable price and including them on the list of subsidized medicines .
Juvenile justice: The Committee is concerned that children who have run away from foster care centres can allegedly be placed in police custody centres for children. (art. 24) (Para 24)
The State party should introduce new legislation governing in detail the living conditions to be secured in police custody centres for children and the rules governing children’s entry and stay in such facilities. It should also ensure that children who have not committed a punishable act are not placed in such custody centres.
Observations published: 7 October 2016
Childcare: While welcoming the implementation of the “Family 500 Plus” programme and the efforts to increase the number of childcare facilities, the Committee notes with concern that the number of such facilities, particularly for children under the age of three, remains inadequate. The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of childcare services, in particular for children up to the age of three (paras 30, 31).
Poverty: While taking note of the measures taken by the State party to address poverty, the Committee remains concerned about the high incidence of poverty and extreme poverty, in particular among children, families with three or more children and disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups. The Committee recommends that the State party step up its efforts to guarantee targeted support to all persons living in poverty, or at risk of poverty, in particular children, families with three or more children, the unemployed, pensioners, farmers, migrants, the Roma, including those from the European Union, and other discriminated and marginalized individuals and groups, including the homeless, who are not in receipt of social benefits. The Committee draws the State party’s attention in this regard to its statement on poverty and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (paras 32, 33).
Malnutrition and right to adequate food: While noting the programmes to reduce malnutrition in the State Party, the Committee is concerned about food insecurity and worrying malnutrition rates, particularly among disadvantaged or low-income families with children and in rural areas. The Committee recommends that the State party: Step up its efforts to address food insecurity and malnutrition among disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, particularly among persons living in poverty, or at risk of poverty and promote healthier diets; Refer to general comment No. 12 (1999) on the right to adequate food and the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (paras 37, 38).
Child nutrition and obesity: The Committee is concerned about the increase in child obesity rates and the low rates of breastfeeding, particularly among two to six month old children. The Committee recommends that the State party: Introduce higher taxes on junk foods and sugary drinks and consider adopting strict legislations on the marketing of such products, especially in school and recreational areas, while ensuring improved access to healthy diets; Enhance the measures to support breastfeeding, including breastfeeding breaks or breastfeeding facilities in workplaces and public places; Regularly collect disaggregated data on infant and young child feeding methods, including breastfeeding; and implement fully the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (paras 39, 40).
Reproductive health services: The Committee is concerned about the difficulties faced by women and adolescents in accessing sexual and reproductive health services and contraceptives, including the need of parental consent for adolescents under 18 years old to access gynaecological services. The Committee calls upon the State party to: Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, and to affordable, safe and effective contraceptives, for everyone; Promote comprehensive and age-appropriate sexuality education for both sexes in schools and informal settings (paras 45, 46).
Education: While taking note of the efforts made by the State party in education, the Committee is concerned about the difficulties in accessing quality education encountered by children in rural areas and small towns and children who are asylum-seekers or undocumented migrants. The Committee is also concerned about the low attendance rates of Roma children in primary school, their high school dropout, their over-representation in special schools and their under-representation in secondary and post-secondary education. The Committee encourages the State party to Ensure that children in rural areas and small towns and children who are asylum-seekers or undocumented migrants have free access to quality compulsory primary education; Continue to support the enrolment and completion rate in secondary and tertiary education of disadvantaged and marginalized children, including Roma children; Intensify its efforts to improve school enrolment, retention rates and academic performance of Roma children, including through: providing mentoring and tutoring services, Polish language instruction programmes, adopting special assistance measures; awareness-raising campaigns among the Roma community concerning the importance of education for the future well-being of children; and the involvement of the Roma community in the implementation of the education programmes; Continue addressing the over-representation of Roma children in special schools, including a review of the classification criteria and the adoption of inclusive and integrated education programmes (paras 52, 53).
Last reported: 6 November 2009
Concluding Observations issued: 19 November 2009
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Human rights education: The Committee is concerned about the insufficient awareness of the provisions of the Covenant in the general public at large. The Committee is also concerned that national school curricula do not provide for adequate human rights education. (Paragraph 10).
The Committee calls on the State party: (a) To take effective measures to increase awareness in the public at large of the economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Covenant, as well as of judicial or other remedies available to individuals in the event of violations of these rights, and encourages the State party to involve civil society and national human rights institutions in this regard; (b) To ensure that human rights education is provided in schools at all levels
Roma children: The Committee remains concerned that the Roma communities in the State party continue to face widespread discrimination in areas such as employment, education, land tenure, access to welfare benefits, housing and health care, which impair the enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights (art. 2.2). (Paragraph 14).
The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party combat discrimination against Roma communities in areas such as employment, education, land tenure, access to social welfare benefits, housing and health care. The Committee also urges the State party to take all effective measures for the advancement of Roma communities, including by allocating sufficient funds for the realization of programmes in their favour. The Committee calls on the State party to ensure that the implementation of the various national social inclusion programmes take into account the specific situation of Roma communities in the State party.
Corporal punishment: The Committee is concerned that the legislation of the State party does not provide for the criminalization of domestic violence and marital rape and does not prohibit corporal punishment in the home (art. 10). (Paragraph 22).
The Committee calls on the State party to ensure that the amendments to the 2005 Act on Counteracting Domestic Violence criminalize domestic violence, including marital rape, and prohibit corporal punishment in the home.
Trafficking: The Committee is concerned that the State party is a country of origin and destination and a point of transit for trafficking in humans, especially children and women, and for purpose of sexual exploitation (art. 10). (Paragraph 23).
The Committee urges the State party to implement the national programme for combating the trafficking of human beings and adopt effective strategies to combat the phenomenon. The Committee calls on the State party to provide statistical data on the extent of the problem of trafficking in its next periodic report.
Health: The Committee is concerned at the increasing consumption of alcohol and use of tobacco in the State party, particularly among women and children (art. 12). (Paragraph 25).
The Committee calls on the State party to adopt the bill amending the law on tobacco, to combat tobacco use, especially among children, and to take effective measures, including public awareness campaigns, to reduce both tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
Sexual and reproductive health : The Committee is deeply concerned about the lack of sexual and reproductive health education programmes in national school curricula, which should provide objective information in accordance with medical and education standards (art. 13). (Paragraph 31).
The Committee requests the State party to implement adequate programmes in sexual and reproductive education in national school curricula.
Bullying in schools:. The Committee is deeply concerned at reports about homophobia, particularly bullying in schools (art. 13). (Paragraph 32).
The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, in particular awareness-raising, to counter homophobic attitude in educational settings, ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation and identity. The Committee also recommends that the State party introduce in schools the Compass manual on human rights education with young people, published by the Council of Europe.
Last reported: 10 and 11 February 2014
Concluding Observations issued: 21 February 2014
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Roma community: The Committee takes note of a number of results achieved through the programme for the Roma community in Poland for the period 2004–2013. However, the situation of the Roma is still worrying in terms of the high rate of school dropout, the large number of Roma children in special schools, poor living conditions, including de facto segregation in housing, threats of eviction and the limited number of Roma entering the labour market. The Committee is further concerned by the continuing negative stereotypes and discrimination regarding this community. In light of its general recommendation No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its special measures to promote the economic, social and cultural rights of the Roma community, ensuring that all policies and programmes affecting them are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated with the full participation of organizations representing them.
In this regard, the State party should speed up the adoption of the new programme for the Roma community for the period 2014–2020 and ensure that concrete measures are taken to improve Roma living conditions, including access to mainstream and higher education, adequate housing, health services and employment. Further measures should be taken to address the root causes of the poverty and marginalization of the Roma community, including any indirect discrimination they may face, and promote the rights of Roma women, often subject to double discrimination, bearing in mind general recommendation No. 25 (2000) on gender-related dimensions of racial discrimination. (arts. 2–7) (Para. 13)
Discrimination: The Committee is concerned about the continuing negative stereotype and discrimination against the Roma community. It is also concerned about the high rate of school dropouts of Romani children.
Last reported: 5 and 6 August 2009
Concluding Observations issued: 24August 2009
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Roma children and education: While welcoming the State party’s innovative approach to the education of Roma children, including the introduction of Roma Teaching Assistants and the gradual phasing-out of separate education, the Committee notes with concern that many Roma children do not attend or remain in school and do not pursue higher education. The Committee is also concerned that a lack of facility in the Polish language places Roma children at a severe disadvantage in accessing opportunities for education. (arts. 2 and 5) . (Paragraph 5).
The Committee recommends that the State party, taking into account its general recommendation No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma: (a) Implement the necessary measures to address the low attendance levels of Roma children, giving due weight to all the factors which account for these levels; (b) Develop and implement strategies to improve access to mainstream education for Roma children; (c) Increase the availability of bilingual education; (d) Ensure adequate forms and schemes of education for members of Roma communities beyond school age, in order to improve adult literacy among them.
Human rights education: The Committee takes note of the State party’s efforts to integrate human rights education into school curricula. It, however, notes the lack of information on the use of the media in this area. (Paragraph 11).
The Committee reiterates its recommendation, contained in its previous concluding observations, that the State party pay particular attention to the role of the media in improving human rights education. It also requests that the State party provide, in its next report, information on measures taken in this regard. (art. 7)
Adopted by the Committee: 22 October 2014
Published by the Committee: 7 November 2014
The Act on the care of children below the age of 3, which aimed at improving access to institutional childcare in order to reconcile work and family life, in April 2011 (para.4).
The Committee recommends that the State party regularly collect, analyse and publish data on reported, investigated and prosecuted cases of violence against women and girls (para.25).
Trafficking and sexual exploitation:
The Committee recommends that the State party to ensure that women and girl victims of trafficking are early and properly identified and have access to medical care, legal aid, psychosocial counselling, and rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, regardless of their ability or willingness to testify against traffickers; Address the root causes of trafficking and forced prostitution by increasing promoting educational and income generating opportunities for women and girls thereby minimizing their vulnerability to exploitation (para.27).
The Committee is concerned about structural barriers negatively affecting girls’ and women’s enrolment in non-traditional educational and vocational fields; gender segregation in the educational system as evidenced by the disparity in the number of boys' and girls’ schools; the absence of mandatory comprehensive age appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health in school curricula. The Committee is also concerned about the continued placement of Roma girls in special schools or classes, the high drop-out rates of Roma girls from primary education and their low school attendance (para.30).
The Committee recommends that the State party eliminate structural barriers as well as negative stereotypes that potentially deter girls’ enrolment in non-traditional educational and vocational fields at all levels of education; Consider adopting temporary special measures to promote girls’ take up of technical subjects, and to accelerate the appointment of women in highest academic positions; Provide mandatory comprehensive age appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights to girls and boys, as part of the regular school curricula, including about responsible sexual behaviour, prevention of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, taught by appropriately trained personnel; Ensure the enrolment of Roma girls and boys in regular classes of primary schools instead of schools or classes for children with special needs; and reduce the high drop-out rates of Roma girls from primary education, take effective measures to retain Roma girls attending school and increase their attendance at the secondary level through temporary special measures and support such as scholarships and free provision of textbooks (para.31).
The Committee is concerned about the lack of counselling for girls and women on non-traditional educational and vocational choices and career options and the disparities in access to child-care services between urban and rural areas (para.32).
The Committee recommends the State party develop support programmes including counselling for girls and women on non-traditional educational and vocational choices and career options, e.g. in the areas of science and technologies; Reduce disparities in access to child-care services between urban and rural areas, including by reversing the trend of closing of pre-school facilities (para.33).
The Committee is concerned about the limited access to modern contraceptives, including the barriers adolescent girls may face accessing information and reproductive health services including contraception (para.36).
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the accessibility and affordability of modern contraception by women and girls, including women in rural areas, through the reimbursement of modern and efficient methods of contraception by the public health system; and ensure unimpeded access to reproductive health services and contraception for adolescent girls (para.37).
Last reported: 16 January 2007
Concluding Observations issued: 2 February 2008
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Violence: While noting the efforts undertaken by the State party to prevent and address violence against women, the Committee is concerned about the remaining gaps in the 2005 Law on Combating Domestic Violence, the perception of domestic violence as a gender-neutral phenomenon, and about insufficient services for victims, including immediate eviction of the perpetrator, free legal aid and the number of shelters available. It is also concerned about the remaining gaps in data collection on all forms and manifestations of violence against women. (Paragraph 18).
The Committee urges the State party to accord priority attention to preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, in accordance with its general recommendation 19. It calls upon the State party to ensure that victims have immediate means of protection, by way of restraining orders issued by the police and access to a sufficient number of safe shelters staffed by expert personnel and other services including free legal aid, and also to ensure that systematic collection of data, disaggregated by types of violence and by the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, is undertaken. The Committee recommends that the State party: conduct awareness-raising campaigns to combat violence against women, including domestic violence; undertake research on the root causes of violence against women, in particular domestic violence; and use such research as a basis for enhanced awareness-raising efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women.
Trafficking: While welcoming the adoption of the National Programme to Combat and Prevent Trafficking in Human Beings, and measures taken to combat such trafficking and provide assistance to victims, the Committee is concerned about the limited data on the scope of that phenomenon and the remaining gaps in the legal framework to combat it. It is also concerned about the lack of impact assessments of measures taken. (Paragraph 20)
The Committee urges the State party to include in its penal code a definition of trafficking in accordance with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. It also urges the State party to strengthen data collection on trafficking and to monitor systematically the impact of, and results achieved in, the implementation of its policies and programmes in that area, including bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Health: The Committee expresses its concern that, as a result of the restructuring of the health sector, there has been a decrease in the number of clinics and health services available to women, in particular in rural areas. The Committee is concerned about the lack of official data and research on the prevalence of illegal abortion in Poland and its impact on women’s health and life. (Paragraph 24).
The Committee urges the State party to take concrete measures to enhance women’s access to health care, in particular to sexual and reproductive health services, in accordance with article 12 of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation 24 on women and health. It calls on the State party to conduct research on the scope, causes and consequences of illegal abortion and its impact on women’s health and life. It also urges the State party to ensure that women seeking legal abortion have access to it, and that their access is not limited by the use of the conscientious objection clause. It requests the State party to strengthen measures aimed at the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, including by making a comprehensive range of contraceptives widely available at an affordable price and by increasing knowledge and awareness about different methods of family planning. The Committee recommends that the State party give priority attention to the situation of adolescents and that it provide age-appropriate sex education, targeted at girls and boys, as part of educational curricula.
Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Poland
Last reported: 30 and 31 October 2013 Concluding Observations adopted: 19 November 2013
Protection of asylum-seekers: The Committee welcomes the proposed amendments to the Aliens Act of 2003 which introduce alternatives to detention and allows for a broader scope of persons entitled to family reunification, however it remains concerned that under the current legislation asylum seekers, including children, are detained in guarded centers or under arrest in prison like conditions for the purpose of expulsion. The Committee is also concerned about the insufficient legal assistance to asylum seekers, especially those in detention centers (arts.3, 10 and 11).
The Committee recommends that the State Party refrain from detaining asylum-seekers, including children, and guarantee them, including those that may face detention, access to independent, qualified and free legal advice and representation, in order to ensure that the protection needs of asylum seekers, refugees and other persons in need of international protection are duly recognized and effective. (para. 13)
Electrical Discharge Weapons: While noting that the Law of 9 April 2010 on the Border Guard envisages the use of electrical stunning devices and that the State party considers these devices (such as “tasers”) as less lethal than the use of firearms, the Committee remains concerned that their use may contravene the Convention and, in some cases, even cause death. (arts. 2 and 16)
The State party should ensure that electrical discharge weapons are limited exclusively to extreme situations – where there is a real and immediate threat to life or risk of serious injury – only as a substitute for lethal weapons and only by trained law enforcement personnel. The State party should revise the regulations governing the use of such weapons with a view to establishing a high threshold for their use and expressly prohibiting their use on children and pregnant women. The Committee is of the view that the use of electrical discharge weapons should be subject to the principles of necessity and proportionality and should not be included in the regular equipment of custodial staff in prisons or any other place of deprivation of liberty. The Committee urges the State party to provide detailed instructions and adequate training to law enforcement personnel entitled to use electric discharge weapons, and to strictly monitor and supervise their use. (para. 15)
Domestic violence: The Committee welcomes the establishment in 2011 of the National Emergency Service for Victims of Domestic Violence “Blue Line”, but regrets that the line is operational only during limited hours. While noting the 2005 Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and article 207 of the Penal Code on the offence of abuse of close family members, the Committee is concerned that domestic violence is not a distinct crime in the Penal Code (arts. 2, 12, 13, 14 and 16).
The Committee recommends that the State party:(a) Define and introduce domestic violence and marital rape as specific criminal offences under its Penal Code with appropriate sanctions; (b) Ensure the effective implementation of the National Programme for the Prevention of Domestic Violence 2006 – 2016 and regularly assess its results; (c) Establish an effective and independent complaints mechanism for victims of domestic violence; (d) Ensure that all allegations of domestic violence, including sexual violence and violence against children, are registered by the police, that all allegations of violence are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, and that perpetrators prosecuted and punished; and (e) Ensure that victims of domestic violence benefit from protection, including restraining orders, and have access to medical and legal services, including counselling, safe and adequately funded shelters and redress, including rehabilitation. (para. 22)
Last reported: 10 and 11 May 2007
Concluding Observations issued: 15 May 2007
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Trafficking: While acknowledging the efforts made by the State Party in combating and preventing trafficking in human beings by adopting new legislation and measures, the Committee is concerned about the absence of a definition of trafficking in human beings in its Penal Code. The Committee also regrets the lack of information on the number of cases brought to court and on the penalties imposed to perpetrators. (art. 16) . (Paragraph 18).
The State Party should include in its Penal Code a definition of human trafficking in accordance with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (CEDAW/C/POL/CO/6). The State party should provide detailed information and statistics on the number of cases brought to court and penalties imposed to perpetrators, where appropriate.
No visits undertaken.
Not yet signed ro ratified.
Signed in 2007, but not yet ratified.
Not yet signed or ratified.