Changes in the Social, Political and Legal Situation of National and Ethnic Minorities in Poland after 1990
The political, legal and social transformations which have taken place over the last 20 years brought about both positive and negative consequences for the situation of non-Polish nationalities. Positive consequences: The end of discrimination policy towards national minorities Changing the state’s ‘supervision’ into ‘care’ Political subjectivization of national and ethnic minorities Introducing a number of legal regulations which allowed all the nationalities living in Poland latitude in national, political, social and cultural functioning A very dynamic development of organizational activity Development of national and ethnic minorities education Revival of various kinds of nationality statistics Passing the Act on National and Ethnic Minorities and the Regional Languages by the Sejm after many years of disputes Negative consequences: A significantly improved political and legal situation of members of national and ethnic minorities after 1990 did not slow down the process of shrinking of ‘traditional’ (historical) minority communities in Poland Assimilation of national and ethnic minorities is still progressing, which is proved by their continuous shrinking (the results of the national census, decrease in the number of members of minority organizations, decrease in support for electoral list of candidates of national minorities, decrease in the number of students learning minority languages) Fewer members of a particular minority leads to the decrease in their political and social significance Establishing numerous, often competing organizations within one minority often results in arguments and conflicts New local divisions and animosity due to bilingual names of towns and villages Frequent lack of reciprocity concerning legal regulations on national minorities in Poland and the Polish minority in the neighboring countries, Lithuania and Germany in particular The Polish law forbids discrimination and protects all the nationalities living in the Republic of Poland. Yet, as a result of passing the Act on National and Ethnic Minorities and the Regional Languages (in 2005), 14 minority communities are particularly privileged from the legal perspective. These are: Byelorussians, Czechs, Lithuanians, Germans, Ormians, Russians, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Jews, Karaims, Lemkos, Roma, Tatars, Kashubians. Despite similar rights and privileges25 for all the 14 communities mentioned in the act, the relevant communities differ with respect to how they take advantage of them. The recent years have shown that the German, Kashubian and Lithuanian communities can, or want to, make best use of the privileges guaranteed by the Polish law.
- Książki/Rozdziały 
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