Racism and hate crime exist in practically all cultures and countries, and regrettably, is also present here in Poland. In the latter part of 2015 there were a number of widely publicised, but still relatively few racist incidents involving violence against individuals and attacks on property.
Should you find yourself a victim of Racism there is a very helpful campaign website“Racism. Say it to fight it” in various languages, where you can obtain advice and support and report the incident online. Ultimately it will be a matter for the Police to investigate, but reporting the incident through this portal should help make sure that appropriate action is taken. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not always the case, when trying to lodge a complaint with local Police.
The campaign website recognises this and adds:-
“If you want us to monitor your case, you may notify the Human Rights Protection Team of the Ministry of the Interior about a hate crime. Having received your notification, the Team will contact the Police or prosecutor’s office, and will monitor the manner in which your case is being examined.
REMEMBER, Police officers are obligated to treat cases of hate crimes seriously and to investigate those cases thoroughly. However, if you have been treated improperly by a Police officer while trying to report a crime, notify the Human Rights Protection Team of the Ministry of the Interior about the event. The Team will examine your notification and take actions so as to explain your case.”
The following information is from the campaign website:-
The information campaign “Racism. Say it to fight it” is conducted within the framework of the project titled Immigrants against hate crimes – how to effectively assert your rights, carried out by the Ministry of the Interior. The project has been originated by the Human Rights Protection Team operating within the Department of Control, Complaints and Petitions of the Ministry of the Interior, which, on a day to day basis, monitors cases related to hate crimes and takes actions in order to prevent that kind of incidents.
The idea of creating a Poland-wide information campaign has appeared as a response to an increasing number of foreigners coming to Poland, who may fall victim to such crimes. The need for broadening knowledge concerning procedures of reporting and combating hate crimes was signalled to the Human Rights Protection Team during meetings with immigrants residing, working and studying in Poland.
The purpose of activities undertaken within the campaign is to inform foreigners about the following issues:
• what hate crimes are and how they are regulated by Polish law,
• what steps may be taken by a victim of such a crime, and what this person may expect from respective authorities,
• what institutions a victim of a hate crime may turn to, what competences and tasks of these institutions are, and what procedures carried out by law enforcement agencies will look like in outline.
We would like both this website and leaflets distributed among the foreigners to be treated as a compendium of information which might help all foreigners being victims of hate crimes to pursue their rights efficiently. The leaflets and posters are also available in the Police stations, in official institutions, at universities and in other public institutions; therefore, you can come across them in various places around Poland. Their presence proves that a particular institution is engaged in the campaign.
Under the campaign, we would like to encourage all foreigners to report crimes they have fallen victims to or they have witnessed to Polish law enforcement agencies.
We hope our actions will contribute to an increase of the immigrants’ trust in Polish public institutions and to establishing communication between aggrieved foreigners and public administration. We believe that, as a result of this, foreigners will feel safe in Poland.
The project Immigrants against hate crimes – how to effectively assert your rights is co-financed with funds of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals.