Immigrants against hate crimes: how to effectively assert your rights project Projekt Imigranci wobec przestępstw z nienawiści: czyli jak skutecznie dochodzić swoich praw

The project, consisting of an information campaign and a conference, aimed at informing migrant groups about various hate crime issues and at finding ways in which organisations could better cooperate to tackle hate crime.

The information campaign was called ‘RacismSay it to fight it’. 

  • It took place from March – June 2014.
  • It was primarily aimed at non-EU nationals living in Poland.
  • As the reporting procedure is the same for all types of hate crime, the campaign information and material applied to all minority groups.
  •  The material covered various important topics, including:
  • What hate crime is.
  • What kind of incidents constitute hate crime.
  • Which authorities incidents should be reported to.
  • What is the role of the various entities involved in the reporting process.
  • Where hate crime victims can receive support.
  • The campaign was delivered via different channels, including a multilingual website and leaflets, billboards, posters and TV adverts.
  • The leaflets and website were translated into and published in the 10 most common foreign languages found in Poland: English, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Turkish, Arabic, and Armenian.
  • The website contained a contact form for reporting hate crimes directly to Human Rights Protection Team at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The Human Rights Protection Team is a unit within the Ministry of the Interior and Administration (previously the Ministry of the Interior) which is responsible for hate crimes issues.
  • Leaflets were distributed among the target group by NGOs, universities and public institutions.

The conference followed on from the information campaign, and was entitled ‘How to dismantle the bomb of hate – effective cooperation between immigrants and law enforcement’.

  • Organisations that worked with the Ministry of the Interior during the campaign participated.
  • The aim was to discuss further what could be done to counteract hate crime and to develop a framework for future cooperation.  
  • The main topics of debate were barriers that prevent the reporting of hate crimes to law enforcement agencies and possible solutions for overcoming these.

Following the conclusion of the project, the Working Group on Counteracting Hate Crimes was set up in the Ministry of the Interior and Administration (this practice is described separately).


In this page:


Implementing the practice: step by step

The implementation steps included:                                   

  1. The need for such a project was established after speaking to people from minority groups. This was done through correspondence and general meetings.
  2. The project idea was devised and possible sources of funding were researched.
  3. The concept was introduced to management at the Ministry of the Interior and was approved.
  4. Funds were applied for and received (funding came from the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals).
  5. The contractor for preparing and delivering the campaign was chosen.
  6. Preparation began for the information campaign. This involved the formulation of the campaign concept and elements, and the establishment of the organisational network involved in campaign delivery.
  7. The campaign took place.
  8. The conference was held.
  9. The post–conference publication was distributed.
  10. The project ended.
  11. The Working Group on Counteracting Hate Crimes was established.

In order to undertake the project, external funds had to be secured and relationships established with organisations with direct contact to the target group.

Evaluation of the practice

The Ministry of the Interior - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych - was responsible for evaluating the practice. Those NGOs that participated in the conference were asked for feedback.

The number of hate crimes reported to the Human Rights Protection Team was used as an indicator to gauge the success of the project.

Prior to the project, civil society organisations informed the Ministry that minority groups were not reporting hate crimes because:

  • They did not know that such incidents constituted crimes.
  • They did not know who to report to.
  • They were afraid that they would be mistreated by police officers and that the police would not take their complaints seriously.  
  • They did not believe in the effectiveness of the police and their ability to punish the perpretators.

As a result of the project, the amount of hate crimes being reported to the team has increased, from both migrant communities and the general population. Cooperation has also been established between the Ministry and over a hundred NGOs (and many other entities.) 

Critical success factors

It is important to ensure that there is sufficient funding both to carry out the campaign and to promote it widely. Engaging sufficient staff to deliver such a project is also vital.

Close cooperation with minority communities is essential in order to ascertain their needs. 

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

The project is both transferable as a whole and as individual elements.

It is important to bear in mind that minority groups in other states likely have different characteristics and needs. By determining the needs of these communities through close cooperation and communication, the project can be amended accordingly.

Key Facts

Start date: March 2014.
End date: February 2015 (although some elements are still available, such as the website).
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Directly – non-EU nationals. Indirectly – other minority groups and the whole of society.
Beneficiaries: Groups subjected to hate crimes.
Key objectives

  • To raise awareness with migrant groups about what they can do when they are subject to or witness incidents of hate crime.
  • To encourage migrant groups to report hate crime to law enforcement authorities.  
  • To raise awareness of hate crime and related topics among the general population.

To increase the confidence of immigrants in Polish public institutions.

Legal basis of the practice

The practice is not based on a specific hate crime legal framework.

It is instead based on the Statutory tasks of the Ministry of the Interior - Regulamin organizacyjny Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych.

Designing bodies and partners consulted

The practice was designed by the Ministry of the Interior - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych.

Various NGOs and civil society organisations were consulted in the early stages of development. Many assisted in delivering the campaign and participated in the conference. 

Implementing Bodies

The main implementing body was the Human Rights Protection Team at the Ministry of the Interior - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych.

The following partners also played a role in project implementation:

  • NGOs (126 in total): They expressed the need for the project; were consulted on the content of the website/leaflet; helped in verifying translations into the chosen languages; distributed leaflets to the target groups; and participated in the conference.
  • Universities (76 in total): They distributed leaflets to the target group and participated in the conference.
  • City councils (63 in total): They distributed leaflets to the target group.
  • Job centres (42 in total): They distributed leaflets to the target group.
  • 16 Voivodeship offices (main administrative offices in each of Poland’s 16 provinces): They distributed leaflets to the target group.

Further information

Report Racism Website.

Contacts

Human Rights Protection Team in Ministry of the Interior and Administration:

zpc (at) mswia (dot) gov (dot) pl