Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
Download 'Government Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (440 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (10 April 1996)
Compare with the following Country Report(s): DPI, ILSMH, WBU, WFD
The officially recognized disability policy in Poland is expressed: in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government, and in policy adopted by the political parties. The national policy equally emphasizes prevention, rehabilitation and anti-discrimination law, less emphasizing individual support and accessibility measures.
The Government has supported the following actions conveying the message of full participation: The Standard Rules were translated into Polish and disseminated; The principles of co-operation between the Government and NGOs were approved by the Government and disseminated; Propagation in mass-media, mainly in the press (by co-financing from the State Rehabilitation fund), the publication of articles on the issues related to full participation of disabled persons.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by special and general legislation. Judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of disabled persons include due process (legal remedy through courts). Administrative and other non-judicial bodies include: an Ombudsman and a Governmental body (administrative).
The general legislation applies to all categories of persons with disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. As regards the right of access to court-of-law the Government states that in the case of incapacitated persons it applies only through the statutory representative or the curator assigned by court. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, participation in decisions affecting them (in trade unions and unions of employers hiring disabled persons, in decisions in form of agreement concluded between NGOs and the Government and in form of principles of co-operation between the Government and NGOs).
No new legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules but the Law on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons has been approved by the Government and forwarded to the Parliament.
There are laws and regulations to ensure accessibility in the build environment establishing national design standards requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, and housing are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by national authority and local Governments. The following measures have been promoted by the Government: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing automatic doors, lifts, accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, improving accessibility in housing, providing financial support for the costs of adapting private buildings to the needs of persons with disabilities, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired, and provision of specially adapted motor vehicles. There are special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities available for the following purposes: medical treatment, education, work, recreational purpose. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles, according to the Government, are: attitudinal factors and economic/budgetary factors. There is a disability awareness component in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people is recognized as the official language for deaf people, is used as the first language in the education of deaf people and is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are Government measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation being available only for major events.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
In the national umbrella organization about 100 NGOs representing persons with all kinds of disabilities are included. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. The new draft of the Law on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons is however considering the issue. Disability organizations are often consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national and local levels. The Government gives financial and organizational/logistic support to existing and new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to some extent in Government, legislature, judiciary and to a great extent in political parties and NGOs. The disabled persons' organizations in Poland have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures concerning the lives of disabled persons, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
All answers to the questions in this section relate to records in the draft "Law on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled People" approved by the Government and forwarded to the parliament in February 1996.
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of: Finance, Health and Social Affairs, Employment, Housing, Education, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of other NGOs, and from the private sector. The Government expects the national co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development, and to perform other tasks, such as giving opinions and participating in creation of legislation and Governmental programmes.
According to the Government the Standard Rules more effectively help to create the policy and activity in favour of persons with disabilities.