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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

Poland has set out to improve the situation of children in the country and put some laws in place to underpin this intend. Nevertheless, the situation of Roma children and poor families in particular is difficult, as they have no access to the health system and social benefits.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenActs of xenophobia and homophobia are increasing and transgender children face discrimination and may become targets of hate crimes.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned that gender stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society persist. In addition to that, the Committee notes with concern that the State party faces challenges in preventing forced marriages of girls in situations of migration as well as refugee and asylum-seeking girls.

The Committee notes as positive that cases of sexual abuse of children by clergy are taken seriously and prosecuted. However, it is concerned that a number of cases may not yet have surfaced and that such abuse may still be ongoing.

The Committee recommends to ensure unimpeded access to sexual and reproductive health services, including confidential counselling and modern contraception, for adolescent girls and boys. It also recommends to make the conditions for abortion less restrictive and, in relation to adolescent girls, to reflect the right of the child to express her views and have her best interests taken into consideration.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenIncidents of racial violence and abuse, including hate speech, are increasing.
Situation of children with disabilities

There is little data, research and analysis on the effectiveness of the implementation of laws and policies on the rights of children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities still live in institutions, owing to, inter alia, a fragmented system of social assistance, which does not sufficiently encourage and support families to keep their children at home, nor is it comprehensive enough to support children’s autonomy and active participation in public life throughout the course of their life. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to guarantee all children with disabilities the right to inclusive education in mainstream schools and reform the system of social assistance for children with disabilities in order to improve its coherence and coordination and avoid unnecessary institutionalizations.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenAsylum-seeking children placed in detention centres do not have access to full-time education. Also, there are no procedures for systematically providing information to asylum-seeking children and their guardians on their rights and obligations, asylum procedures and available services. The Committee recommends to avoid all forms of detention for persons under 18 years of age and families with children and consider all possible alternatives, including unconditional release, prior to detention.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

Dental problems are the most widespread health issue among children, and both overweight and undernutrition among children appear to be increasing at the same time. The Committee is concerned that free medical care is provided for Polish nationals, but this does not extend to Roma children living in poverty, who have difficulty accessing timely and quality medical care. Poland should ensure availability of and equal access to quality primary and specialized health care for all children, continue and strengthen the prophylactic work in the area of dental care and introduce a system of inviting children to go for a dental check-up regularly without the need for parental initiative.

Relation to other countries
mental health

There is a growing number of children with depression and anxiety disorders, as well as a growing number of suicide attempts by children. The Committee recommends to raise awareness of children, parents and teachers on children’s mental health issues, continue and strengthen preventive work in schools and care centres, improve the availability of easily accessible services, and further increase the number of child psychologists and psychiatrists.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party examine and adapt its legislative framework (civil, criminal and administrative) to ensure the legal accountability of business enterprises and their subsidiaries operating in or managed from the territory of the State party, especially in the tourism industry. It also recommends to undertake research on the extent and root causes of child sex tourism, in order to identify children at risk and to assess the extent of the problem.
Poland should further establish monitoring mechanisms for the investigation and redress of children’s rights violations and undertake awareness-raising campaigns with the tourism industry and the public at large on the prevention of child sex tourism.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends to review existing complaints mechanisms and ensure that all children deprived of their liberty, including in the course of criminal or corrective procedures, have access to a safe and child-friendly mechanism to file complaints relating to their deprivation of liberty, conditions of detention or internment and treatment.
A large number of children are still detained in juvenile shelters for extensive periods of time prior to and during correctional proceedings, with the average period of detention being longer than three months and children above the age of 13 years who are reasonably suspected of or convicted of a punishable act can be detained at police emergency centres. In addition to that, Children in conflict with law in police custody are often interviewed and requested to make statements and sign documents without the presence of a lawyer or another trusted adult to assist them.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards and guarantee the procedural rights of children.
The Committee recommends to the State party to amend the Penal Code to define hate speech and other hate crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and homophobia as specific punishable offences and ensure that such incidents are thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Specific observations

In 2014, 2,000 stateless persons, including children, and over 8,000 foreigners with undetermined nationalities, including children, resided in the State party. Also, the number of children facing the risk of poverty has increased in recent years, and the poverty rate for children is highest in all age groups (0-18 years) compared to the rest of the population, with 10 per cent of children facing extreme poverty.

The Committee is concerned that there are occasions when children belonging to religious minorities are not offered classes in their own religion in public schools and they have to participate in Catholic religion classes instead. The Committee is also concerned that grades obtained in Islamic religion classes are not always recorded on school certificates.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 30 October 2015. The Committee encourages the State party to consider withdrawing its interpretative declaration regarding articles 12 to 16 and 24 of the Convention.

Last Updated (date)27th of February, 2022