- Study tour of the Plenipotentiaries to Warsaw ends a cycle of annual consultations for Regional Offices
On Oct. 22-23, 2015, the Association KARAT Coalition and the Polish Association for Anti-Discriminatory Law – a partner of the project “Preventing Discrimination in the Region” hosted in Warsaw four regional plenipotentiaries for equal status, from Lower Silesia, Mazovia, Lublin and Silesian regions.
The study tour has ended permanent consultations for the Regional Plenipotentiaries for Equal Status carried out by an expert team of the KARAT Coalition and the PAADL, in November 2014-October 2015. Its main goal was to exchange experience derived from working for anti-discriminatory policy and activities by individual regional offices under the project as well as sharing the information on successes, challenges and further plans of the Plenipotentiaries.
What has been done under the annual consultations:
All offices held training courses for managers, executives and employees on practical aspects of anti-discriminatory and anti-mobbing law;
- In most offices the training courses were accompanied with changes to existing internal regulations – anti-discriminatory and anti-mobbing solutions have been introduced;
- Most offices have carried out a survey for their employees on discrimination at working place. Based on the results, experts have developed recommendations for the offices. As it turned out, very often this was the first diagnosis and the first monitoring of discriminatory practices in regional offices
- In Lublin Regional Office, regular meetings of the regional office administration and other administrative units with local non-governmental organizations have been initiated to share information, to present organizations and officials’ activities, to discuss and solve ongoing problems (so far, six meetings had been held)
- In Silesian Regional Office, the Plenipotentiary for Equal Status has initiated a number of educational activities, such as: a cycle of anti-mobbing training courses, issuing a publication on anti-discriminatory prevention, initiating cooperation with local NGOs, particularly the ones that operate to prevent violence against women and hate speech. Recently, a Silesian Platform against Hatred has been established – the project addressed at NGOs and administration focused on developing the most effective forms and methods to prevent hate incidents and hate crimes. Soon, a White Ribbon campaign will take place under which the whole Silesian Regional Office and administrative units will actively join the 16 Days to Prevent Violence against Women campaign;
- In Mazovian Regional Office, a cycle of training courses on anti-discriminatory law has been held; surveys on discrimination of employees have been carried out, new anti-mobbing regulations and procedures have been implemented, contacts with NGOs dealing with preventing discrimination have been established. New projects aimed at further enhancement of anti-discriminatory activities by the Mazovian Regional Office are being developed;
- In Lower Silesian Regional Office the Plenipotentiary for Equal Status has organized two major conferences on discrimination: and international one on equal status policy in Poland and Germany and national, focused on preventing hate speech combined with practical workshop (some applications had to be rejected due to high interest!)
- During the Plenipotentiaries’ visits to Warsaw meetings with the project experts – Karolina Kędziora, Krzysztof Śmiszek from Polish Association of Anti-Discriminatory Law; Kinga Lohmann, Aleksandra Solik from the Association of KARAT Coalition board; and Agnieszka Siekiera from the Association Equality.Info and external evaluator of the project – have been held. On Oct. 22, the Association of KARAT Coalition held gender mainstreaming workshop (how to implement gender perspective into the mainstream policies and the state’s strategy). Aleksandra Solik and Kinga Lohmann presented both the term’s genesis, as well as its practical application, including institutional mechanisms to implement equal status against historical and political background. Extensive discussions also focused on the current KARAT’s survey regarding the situation of girls in vocational education and the situation of women with vocational education on the labor market.
- On Oct. 23, the Regional Plenipotentiaries took part in workshops organized by the Government’s Plenipotentiary for Equal Status on stereotypes and preventing discrimination. They also met Professor Małgorzata Fuszara – the Government’s Plenipotentiary on Equal Status. During the meeting each Regional Plenipotentiary has a chance to share experience and to submit to the minister the information on the particular regional office’s work during the term.
- Consultations between Regional Plenipotentiaries are still on, and will be completed with issuing a publication with recommendations for governmental administration. They will be presented on a conference to be held in February 2016.
- Examples of the actions and initiatives within the project
–A cooperation between the Lublin Voivodeship Office and the local NGOs was established. The cooperation is based on the regular meetings of the officials and NGOs’ representatives to improve preventing and combating discrimination in the region.
– In June 16. 2015 the Lower Silesian Voievodeship Office organized a conference “Equal treatment as a fundament of a modern state” – German and Polish experiences in implementing anti-discrimination policy.
– In May 25. 2015 the lawyers from the Polish Association of Anti-Discrimination Law, the experts in the project “Combating discrimination in the regions of Poland” met with the management of the Lower Silesian Voievodeship Office to pass the knowledge about the legal aspects of preventing discrimination. The meeting was attended by aproximately 50 people, including the Lower Silesian Voivodeship governor and the Regional Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment. The participants discussed the legal framework for combating discrimination, especially in the area of employment, how to exercise one’s rights violated by unequal treatment and a situation of the social groups being at risk of exclusion.
– The provisions on the prohibition of harassment and discrimination in a work place have been in force in Poland for more than 10 years, however, application of these provisions in practice still causes many difficulties for employers. How to respond to bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace? How to effectively solve problems resulting from discrimination? What are the employer’s legal obligations regarding the prevention of harassment and discrimination in a work place?
These and other questions are answered by the experts of project at the first meetings in the voievodeship offices within the framework of regular consultations.
- The recruitment process of the voivode’s offices is completed
Four voivode’s offices (regional governmental bodies) : Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Lublin Voivodeship, Masovian Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship will take part in the project “Preventing discrimination in the regions of Poland”. These offices has signed the cooperation agreement with KARAT Coalition. The cooperation will focus on implementation and improvement of equality policy and antidiscrimination provisions contained in the National Action Program for Equal Treatment for years 2013 – 2016. A team of experts will provide advice, expertise, recommendations and good practices for the offices as well as for the residents of the voivodeships which take part in the project. These actions will be delivered through personal, online and telephone consultations, meetings and trainings. The actions aimed at enhancing knowledge on antidiscrimination law and other measures used in equality policy. This part of the project addressed to the voivode’s offices finishes in November 2015.
- International conference that initiated the project
On June 16th, 2014 KARAT Coalition together with its partners launched the project „Preventing gender discrimination in the regions of Poland”. The international conference which initiated the project took place in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in Warsaw and was met with a great interest of governmental administration, police, local coordinators of Congress of Women and other organizations working for gender equality in Poland. Among the guests we were honored to welcome to the conference the Ambassador of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw Mr. J.E. Karsten Klepsvik and the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment Ms. Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz. The conference aimed at presenting the project and was addressed first of all to the civil servants of regional governmental bodies, including the regional plenipotentiaries for equal treatment.
During the conference Aleksandra Solik from KARAT presented the details of project „Preventing discrimination in the regions of Poland”, then Monika Ksieniewicz who represented the Office of Governmental Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment talked about the National Action Plan for Equal Treatment for years 2013-2016 which is a legal base for equality policy for the governmental administration. Then, Marte Taylor Bye from Norwegian partner organization KUN Center for Gender Equality presented the institutional mechanisms for realization of equality policy in Norway. She also gave the examples of successful cooperation between KUN and governmental administration to promote gender equality.
During the second part of the conference there was an interesting panel discussion titled “How and why the governmental administration should implement the policy of equal treatment of women and men?”. The participants of the panel discussion were: Marte Taylor Bye from KUN Center for Gender Equality, Karolina Kędziora from Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law, Monika Ksieniewicz from the Office of Governmental Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment, Grażyna Kuklińska – a coordinator for equal treatment in the Mazovia Regional Governmental Council and Anna Czerwińska from KARAT who moderated the discussion. During the panel discussion the conference’s guests asked the questions concerning the equality and antidiscrimination policy in Poland.
The conference was attended by over 50 people, including the regional plenipotentiaries for equal treatment from twelve Regional Governmental Councils. During the conference KARAT gathered the initial declarations of the civil servants representing various regions that they are interested in joining the project.
Read the PROGRAM OF CONFERENCE
See the photos from conference HERE
18 June 2014