One of the tasks of the Open Krakow (Otwarty Krakow) programme, relates to ‘racist and xenophobic Incidents’.
‘Implementing mechanisms for responding to racist and xenophobic incidents as part of an inclusive policy and building intercultural awareness of the population.’
The next meeting, of the wonderfully named’ Interdisciplinary Team for cooperation on the implementation of the “Open Kraków” Programme’ is scheduled for this Thursday when ‘Hate crime (monitoring, response, prevention)’ will be discussed.
Representatives of the Provincial (Komenda Wojewódzka Policji w Krakowie), and Kraków City Police (Komenda Miejska Policji w Krakowie) as well as the City Guard (Straz Miaska) will be present to discuss this topic with the team.
I will also be at the meeting as a member of the implementation team and will be taking part in the discussion on how the Open Kraków programme can contribute to addressing the racism and hate crime problem. I will be drawing on incidents I have become aware of from the various expat groups I am involved with as well as my past professional life which was relevant to this topic.
I would like to take the opportunity of this meeting, to present any issues, questions, concerns or comments from the foreign expat community in Krakow on the topic of hate crime and racism.
As a result of research and preparation for the meeting, together with looking at good practice elsewhere there are a number of obvious recommendations that can be made on issues, but I want to also hear your views on this subject, which I will then take to the meeting on behalf of our expat community.
Racism is an important, difficult and emotive topic, which has drawn heated debate and anger within our Expat group. The intention of this request is not to re-open that debate on racism in Kraków, it is solely an invitation for people to share by email, their views on addressing the problem and issues facing our community.
Please email: email@example.com
Some recommendations and proposals are obvious, and these will be raised at the meeting, such as education and prevention (not so easy and longer term), ease of reporting (huge room for improvement), awareness of where and how to report, attitude/response from Police or prosecuting authorities etc.
We have an opportunity to discuss this directly with police and other authorities, a starting point for the implementation team, to begin work on delivering on the race and hate crime task, which will be an ongoing process. If anyone feels they can contribute to this discussion by raising issues (not anecdotes or opinion/debate) please get in touch.
Are Poles racist, are there racists in Poland?
Poland, as with almost every country, is not immune to the toxic disease of racism and xenophobia. There are certainly a few high profile, yet relatively rare incidents, and many references, justified or not, on social media along with a peak in negative International media following last years Independence day march. However, the city and the vast majority of the people of Kraków are, open, friendly, welcoming and tolerant, no different to most other cities in Europe. The exceptions are the ones who display their racism and xenophobia, leading to the social and mainstream media coverage. Politics, politicians and society also play a part, and bear a responsibility, but that’s a whole separate discussion.
We published an FAQ on reporting racism, sadly the campaign this related to has ended. We will publish an updated article based on the outcomes of this meeting.
Look out for further articles with updates on this and other elements of the Open Krakow Programme.
You can read more about the Open Kraków (Otwarty Kraków Programme) below.
For more information on Open Kraków (Otwarty Kraków) see below or read our previous post.
THE DUTIES OF THE WORKING GROUP
The working group, who’s official title, ‘Interdisciplinary Team to Collaborate in the Implementation of the Open Krakow Programme’, doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, consists of around 16 representatives from the city, and relevant organisations, foundations and NGO’s, including Krakow Expats Directory.
The representatives were selected and invited by the President of Kraków to share their knowledge and experiences in the International expat community, in particular the needs, frustrations, barriers and expectations of foreigners living in Kraków. The intention is to work together in a collaborative and positive way to implement the programme and deliver the aims of the Open Krakow for the benefit of Kraków’s foreign community.
The duties of the Team include the development and proposal of solutions, in particular, in terms of:
- Development of the concept of the operation of an information point for foreigners,
- Selection of official procedures for translation into foreign languages,
- Preparation of the concept of a multicultural and anti-discriminatory social campaign in Krakow,
- Determination of the rules of the functioning of the chapter “multicultural logo”
- Development of campaigns against hate crimes (monitoring, response, prevention),
- Development of the principles of cooperation with non-governmental organisations dealing with multicultural issues and activities for foreigners, multiculturalism, national or ethnic minorities,
- Organisation of competitions for multicultural events,
- Development of a concept for informing people about the possibility of naming streets and multicultural education,
- Multicultural education,
- Development of the concept of competitions for children from minorities and Polish families,
- Searching for patronage for educational initiatives,
- Supporting the fight against illegal graffiti in consultation and collaboration with the Team for Scrawls (exchange of experiences, consultations, joint action plan),
- Preparing recommendations for Krakow’s accession to the Intercultural Cities Network at the Council of Europe and the European Commission
WHAT IS OPEN KRAKÓW (OTWARTY KRAKÓW) ?
In September 2016, the Council of the City of Kraków adopted for implementation the programme “Open Kraków” (Otwarty Kraków), prepared by the Department of Social Affairs (UMK).
The program is designed to facilitate the integration of foreigners in Kraków and to demonstrate the benefits foreigners bring to the city.
Kraków Expats Directory, as a member of the working group, will provide information, in English, to the foreigner/expat community, in the absence of any English language information or online information from the city. We have repeatedly proposed to the city that they should consider the rather obvious step of sharing information online, regarding Open Kraków in other languages, at the inaugural meeting on 2nd October, we again raised this point and were assured that it was being looked into. (A similar response to the one we received last October!)
The Open Kraków (Otwary Kraków) programme is hugely significant as it is the first time the council of the city of Kraków have formally recognised the presence and contribution of the foreigners in this city.
At long last, we have been (or will be) given a voice to be heard. This is a fabulous opportunity to improve relations, communication, access to services and other issues which affect our community.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
The city have now translated some of the key documents and information into English and other languages which Kraków Expats Directory will be used as a platform for sharing.
THE WORKING GROUP
(‘Interdisciplinary Team to Collaborate in the Implementation of the Open Krakow Programme’)
Minutes of the first Working Group meeting – 2nd October
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share any comments, feedback or highlight any specific Expat/Foreigners in Kraków issues, relating to the Open Kraków (Otwarty Kraków) programme.