Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, A/HRC/8/10/Add.1, 13 May 2008: Poland
79. On 21 June 2007, the Special Rapporteur sent a communication concerning information received that in March 2007, the deputy Minister of education, Mr. Miroslaw Orzechowski, allegedly stated in different occasions that Government was developing legislation to ban “promotion of homosexuality” in schools and all education facilities. According to this legislation, teachers, students and principals who violate its provisions could face dismissal, fines or prison terms. Moreover, health educators advocating safer sex practices for homosexuals would be banned from schools, as well as lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBT) organizations.
80. In addition, it was alleged that in a radio interview Mr. Orzechowski, stated that “homosexuals should not hold positions such as those of a teacher”. The next day he insisted that he was misquoted and said that “only those who propagate homosexuality would face consequences”. Previously, at a summit of European Union education Ministers in March 2007, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Mr. Roman Giertych, allegedly affirmed that children are receiving “propaganda about homosexuality”, adding that this “must be limited so children will have the correct view of the family”.
81. According to the information received the legislative proposal was under “popular consultation”, which is a step of the legislative process. However, it has not been made public. It would have the support of the Prime Minister Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski and the President Mr. Lech Kaczynski.
82. The Special Rapporteur reiterated his concern already expressed in a communication sent on 27 June 2006, as well as in his report A/HRC/4/29/Add.1 presented to the Human Rights Council during its 4th session, regarding the dismissal of the Director of the National In- Service Training Centre, due to his involvement in the publication and dissemination of a Council of Europe’s human rights handbook for young people. The Special Rapporteur was concerned that the legislation referred to above might be also an attempt to prevent the dissemination in Poland of educative information that promotes universal human rights, tolerance and respect for diversity. He was also preoccupied that it would prevent students of having access to sexual health information and that it would jeopardize polish educators’ rights.
83. By letter dated 26 November 2007, the Government replied to the communication sent by the Special Rapporteur on 21 June 2007 concerning the preparation by the Polish Ministry of National Education of a draft Act aiming at the prevention to promote homosexuality in schools and on the ban of propagating the homosexuality as an ideology in Polish educational system. The Government informed that on 6 September 2007, the Managing Board of the Ministry of National Education decided on the discontinuation of further legislative process on the mentioned draft.
84. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its reply and is pleased to note that the draft legislation has been discontinued.
Link to full text of the report: Communications-SR Education-2008-eng