2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released the 48th annual Human Rights Report. The entire report can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website, with the Poland chapter.

The Poland chapter will be available on the U.S. Embassy website later today and we will post the Polish translation as soon as it is available.

As Secretary Blinken wrote in the preface, the year covered by this HRR coincided with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the authors of the UDHR, “The destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities.”

Civic Commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising


We gather again beacause we remember. We remember what happened. We remember those that fought. We remember those that died. And we remember those that kept that memory alive: Marek Edelman, Jacek Kuroń, Zofia Kuratowska, Anka Kowalska, Lechosław Goździk, Mirosław Sawicki, Symcha Rotem Rathajzer alias „Kazik”, Noemi Korsan, Chawka Raban, Julia Hartwig and many others.

Like Marek Edelman, we see the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as a matter of grassroots social memory. We do not want to and cannot take part in official celebration as they are full of empty national rhetoric. We want the memory of the ghetto uprising to be independent of national and political interests. That is why we meet every year to create a community of living social memory and to include the next generation in it. Be with us on this day, bring your family, friends, colleagues!

When: April 19, 2024, at 12:00

Where: Józefa Lewartowskiego 6, Szmul M. Zygielbojm Monument

Facebook event

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


On 21 March we commemorate 1960 South African police massacre of a peaceful Sharpeville, against the apartheid pass laws.

This day reminds us of the need to eliminate, once and for all, the xenophobia, discrimination, and racism in all their forms.

Statement by civil society organisations after the 2023 parliamentary elections


On 17 October, the National Electoral Commission announced the results of the parliamentary elections. The United Right, with a score of 35 % of the votes, did not receive sufficient support for the continued exercise of power. Three groups, which have so far represented political opposition have von a greater trust mandate: the Civic Coalition, the Third Way and the New Left, with a total of 54% votes.

74 % of those eligible to vote took part in the elections, including almost 70 % of the total population of young people. Such a high turnout has not only set a record in the history of democratic Poland, but has placed us in the top 5 of the  European countries with the highest voter turnout. It is a great success for the civil society and a serious commitment for those who are now in power.

A period of great mobilisation of the civil society around this most important act of parliamentary democracy – namely the general elections, has come to its closure. Poles have reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, freedom and civil liberties, the right to decide who will rule on their behalf and how they will be exercising it. This is evidenced not only by the record turnout, but also by the unprecedented commitment of tens of social organisations and many thousands of people in the decision to work towards equal, universal and fair elections, conducted in the pre-election period and on election day itself.

Their actions – monitoring the law and the electoral process, monitoring the way in which the elections are organised, the way in which the election committees conducted their campaigns and financed them, observing the process of casting votes and counting them, numerous educational and information campaigns and social campaigns encouraging participation in voting – all these activities are solid evidence for their civic maturity and accountability. They are also an expression of the effectiveness of solidarity among social organisations.

Social organisations, in order to meet social expectations, have also formulated and presented cross-party, civic proposals for legal changes and specific social policies in the area of restoring the rule of law, protecting the rights of women, minorities, people with disabilities, the care for climate and environment, education, culture, public media, social activity. This action stemmed from the sense of responsibility for the shape and future of the Polish state and the integrity of our community. We showed that we havea vision of Poland, in which everyone can feel at home and participate in creating solutions concerning it; furthermore, that we can inspire political groups to engage in dialogue and programmatic debate.

ECRI report on Poland


Since the adoption of ECRI’s fifth report on Poland on 20 March 2015, progress has been made and good practices have been developed in a number of fields.

By an Act of 7 July 2022, Article 256.1 of the Criminal Code was amended to the effect that the punishment for the promotion of totalitarianism, nazi, communist or fascist ideologies, or hatred based on national, ethic, racial or religious differences, was increased, while the same Act introduced an explicit reference to hatred on the grounds of a victim’s national, ethnic, racial, political or religious affiliation, as an aggravated circumstance listed in Article 53.2a of the Criminal Code, which courts will be obliged to take into account in their sentencing.

Police training about tackling antisemitism has recently been initiated, as provided by the Union of Jewish Communities, and the President of the Republic has on several occasions reacted with counter-speech against antisemitic hate speech.

ECRI further welcomes that Article 68 of the 2003 Act on Granting Protection to Foreigners within the Territory of the Republic of Poland was amended to include, as of 2015, victims of violence committed on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity as vulnerable persons eligible for special treatment in the proceedings for granting international protection, and that at least a few asylum seekers have been granted international protection on these grounds.

ECRI commends the city of Gdansk for its immigrant integration model, which was developed in 2015-2016 and which still successfully serves as a basis for the integration of foreigners in the municipality through actions in inter alia the areas of education, culture, health, employment, social assistance and housing, as well as measures against violence and discrimination. Linked to the integration model, Gdansk has created an immigrant council, a consultative body consisting of EU and third country immigrants, to advise the City in immigration and integration matters.

ECRI notes with satisfaction that progress was made in Roma children’s attendance and graduation rates. The proportion of Roma children in so-called special schools for children with learning disabilities has dropped significantly.

ECRI report on Poland

International Day of Democracy


The International Day of Democracy is celebrated around the world on 15 September each year. It was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.

The International Day is an opportunity to review the state of democracy around the world. Each year highlights a specific theme. Past themes have included stronger democracies, the importance of democracy for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthening the voices of citizens, dialogue and inclusiveness, accountability, and political tolerance.

Day of Solidarity and Freedom


Day of Solidarity and Freedom is a national holiday in the Republic of Poland celebrated on August 31. It commemorates the August Agreement of 1980. Despite its status as a national holiday, it is normally a working day, unless it falls during the weekend.

In the early 1970s, Poland’s economic growth rate was one of the highest in the world. However, the country’s centrally planned economy was unable to use the borrowed capital and new resources properly. In 1979, Poland was struck by economic crisis.

In 1980, the government authorized the increase in food prices. This led to labor strikes across the country. In August, workers of the Lenin Shipyard in the city of Gdańsk began to protest against the firing of the trade union activist Anna Walentynowicz. The protesters demanded greater civil rights and labor reform.

Gdańsk workers gained support of other striking groups and Polish citizens. This made the government give in to their demands. On August 31, 1980, the Gdańsk Agreement, also known as the August Agreement, was signed. This agreement led to the establishment of the trade union called Solidarity.

Day of Solidarity and Freedom was proclaimed by the parliament of Poland in 2005. The first official celebration took place on August 31, 2005 in Gdańsk.

The Great Synagogue Restores Memory 2018-2023


A ceremony of the Virtual Reconstruction and outdoor projection of Warsaw’s Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue Restores Memory about Jewish Community and Reappears as Warning and Sign of Hope

19 April 2018, 2019, 2023 Bankowy Square, Warsaw

„May remembrance and ליבע (love) overcome destruction and death”

Special thanks to Paula Sawicka and Piotr Wiślicki who believed from the beginning that impossible is possible.

“Around Us a Sea of Fire” exhibition


An exhibition entitled “Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” has been opened at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. This is the first exhibition about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising presented from the perspective of civilians. During the uprising, they descended into bunkers and hiding places, resisted the Germans and the system they imposed of murdering defenseless people in extermination camps. Instead of reporting for transport, they hid. Their quiet resistance was just as important as that with weapons in hand.

The exhibition can be seen from April 18, 2023, until January 8, 2024.

During its opening, Piotr Wislicki, Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Historical Institute Association, spoke among other things:

When the curators started developing the concept, their objective was to focus on human suffering and drama.  Unfortunately, last year, Putin’s Russia brought back the demons of war. Once again, in Europe, there are people hiding in basements and dugouts from the beasts who want nothing but to destroy, steal, rape and murder.

They are fighting for survival their dignity. We can watch the suffering of innocent people on TV.

“Never again” – this slogan gets repeated over and over again. This is merely a naive wish. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Evil turns up in a number of places all over the world.

I ask of all of you: When you commemorate the Jews murdered during the ghetto uprising, keep in mind the people who are currently hiding in basements and dugouts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and many other places. In places that are closer to us than we tend to imagine. Precisely 150 km away from here, at the Polish-Belarusian border. The border in which refugees from different countries try to cross. Innocent people, children, women and men, who dream of a better future, but are forced to hide like animals in the forests, ditches and swamps. They are also fighting for survival and dignity – and often die doing so.

Don’t we all continue to be too indifferent to their faith?

The whole speech of Piotr Wiślicki

The Great Synagogue Restores Memory 2023


The Great Warsaw Synagogue will symbolically return to the Bankowy Square. Join us for a stunning light and sound show.

The Open Republic Association will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with a multimedia event created by the artist Gabi von Seltmann.

On the night of 19th April, of the anniversary of the Uprising, the image of the synagogue rising from the rubble will appear on the wall of the Blue Skyscraper which was constructed on its site.The Great Synagogue,destroyed by the Germans after the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, will be symbolically reconstructed through image, sound and emotion.

„May rememberance and ליבע (love) overcome destruction and death”

Archival recordings of the cantor of the Great Synagogue, Gerszon Sirota, who died in the Warsaw ghetto, and fragments of the poem “Bashert”, read by its author, Irena Klepfisz, daughter of Michał, Bund activist, a soldier of the Jewish Combat Association, will be played during the ceremony.

The performance will last six minutes (the sequence will be repeated from 9:00 to11:00 pm CET.)

The event will be broadcast live at www.otwarta.org.

Description of project
More details on event on Facebook.