Concluding Observations, CCPR/C/POL/CO/7, 31 October 2016: Poland
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
13. The Committee remains concerned that the Act on Equal Treatment does not afford protection against discrimination in all areas on all the grounds prohibited under the Covenant, including sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and political opinion. The Committee is also concerned that claiming and obtaining compensation in court for acts of discrimination is difficult in practice (arts. 2, 3 and 26).
14. The State party should further amend the Act on Equal Treatment to prohibit discrimination comprehensively on all grounds prohibited under articles 2 and 26 of the Covenant, and in all spheres and sectors, including education, health care, social protection and housing. It should also improve the accessibility of effective remedies for any such discrimination.
Hate crime, hate speech and incitement to national, racial or religious hatred
15. The Committee is concerned about the reported increase in the number of incidents of violence, hate speech and discrimination based on race, nationality, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation and the insufficient response by the authorities to such incidents. The Committee is also concerned that the Penal Code does not refer to disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity as grounds for hate crimes (arts. 2, 3, 18, 20, 26 and 27).
16. The State party should continue strengthening its efforts to prevent and eradicate all acts of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia by, inter alia:
(a) Amending the Penal Code so that crimes motivated by discrimination on any grounds under the Covenant are investigated and prosecuted as aggravated forms of criminal conduct;
(b) Taking measures to prevent and swiftly and effectively respond to any incidents of hate speech, discrimination, violence or alleged hate crime, including through the Internet, by banning the operation of racist associations and faciliConcluding Observations-CCPR-Poland-2016-engtating civil lawsuits by victims pursuant to article 24 (1) of the Civil Code;
(c) Thoroughly investigating alleged hate crimes, prosecuting perpetrators and, if convicted, punishing them, and providing victims with adequate remedies;
(d) Renewing the National Action Plan for Equal Treatment, which is due to expire in the near future;
(e) Reviewing the legal status of same-sex couples and parents with a view to ensuring their enjoyment of the right to non-discrimination in law and in fact;
(f) Continuing work on awareness-raising and educational campaigns aimed at promoting respect for human rights and tolerance for diversity.
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