World Report 2011

Events of 2010

Official flight records obtained by two national human rights groups in February confirmed that at least six CIA rendition flights landed in Poland in 2003. A criminal investigation launched in 2008 into complicity in a CIA secret prison continued, with reports suggesting the prosecutor was considering war crime charges against former president Aleksander Kwasniewski and other former senior officials. In September the prosecutor in charge of the case said his investigation would include the alleged detention and torture of a Saudi man while in CIA custody in Poland.

Discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual identity remained serious problems. In June the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expressed concern over Poland's failure to adequately address discrimination against Roma and non-citizens in education, housing, employment, and health. The European Commission referred Poland to the EU Court of Justice in May for failing to implement the EU directive on race equality. At this writing a government-sponsored anti-discrimination bill is pending final approval in parliament and is expected to come into force in January 2011. A coalition of 40 rights groups criticized the bill as failing to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion in a variety of spheres, or against gender discrimination in education.

Warsaw hosted a landmark gay rights rally in July. The first EuroPride parade in a former Eastern Bloc country was peaceful, despite strong opposition. In December 2009 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had expressed concerns about discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in Poland. The ECtHR ruled in March that Poland discriminated unlawfully against same-sex couples by denying them the same protection in relation to housing and succession rights afforded to unmarried heterosexual couples.

In a May report the UN special rapporteur on the right to health criticized Poland over the lack of access to legal abortions, contraception, and prenatal testing.

Associated documents