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U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Poland
May 31, 2012

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review
13th Working Group Session
UPR Intervention for Poland

May 30, 2012

(as drafted)

The United States welcomes Under-Secretary Grazyna Bernatowicz and the Polish delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We commend Poland’s gender parity law, which sets minimums for women’s representation in political bodies.  We congratulate the Polish people and government for the election to parliament of two members of African descent, a transgender woman, and the first openly gay man.  We commend Poland for its initiatives in the field of human rights, such as the work of the Justice Ministry’s Human Rights Department.

We remain concerned over continued judicial inefficiency and lengthy court procedures which, in general, delay the delivery of justice.  We congratulate Poland on its e-court system to speed small civil claims, but and call for its expansion to handle the backlog of cases created in response to the system’s popularity.

We are also concerned that discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are still common, and most hate crimes against LGBT persons go unreported.

Recent anti-Semitic incidents, including desecration of symbolically significant property or places tied to the Holocaust, were met by widespread and high-level public condemnation, but their occurrence is disconcerting.  Similarly disconcerting is the halting pace of communal and personal property restitution to Holocaust victims. The court system has been slow in processing personal property claims and has proven difficult to access for victims and heirs living abroad.

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:

  1.  Expand the use of technology in order to reduce judiciary delays and improve judicial efficiency;
  2. Institute outreach by police and law enforcement to LGBT persons and communities to increase reporting of hate crimes; and
  3. Enact public awareness campaigns and government training, as well as increased enforcement of anti-discrimination and hate crime laws, in order to decrease anti-Semitism and discrimination against members of ethnic minorities.