Conventions of the United Nations

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The following Covenant of the United Nations obligates Poland as the State Party to this Covenant to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (article 2). The Covenant obligates the Polish State to ensure equal treatment of men and women (article 3).

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

This Convention is entirely devoted to the prohibition of racial discrimination. The term “racial discrimination” means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in this Convention Poland undertakes to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:

  • the right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
  • the right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm;
  • other civil rights, in particular: the right to own property, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
  • economic, social and cultural rights, in particular: the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and pay, the right to form and join trade unions, the right to housing, the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services, the right to education and training);
  • the right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport, hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks (article 5).

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

The Convention introduces the principle of equal treatment of men and women. The document defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Poland as the State Party to the Convention has agreed to pursue a policy of elimination of discrimination against women and, to this end, undertake:

  • to embody the principle of the equality of men and women in the Constitution or other appropriate legislation and to ensure the practical realization of this principle;
  • to adopt appropriate legislative and other measures prohibiting all discrimination against women;
  • to establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination;
  • to refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act in conformity with this obligation (article 2).