Ethnic minorities fight discrimination in Poland

Society Materials 11 January 2008 02:09 (UTC +04:00)

Ethnic minorities living in Poland on Thursday launched a public campaign for their toleration and recognition in Polish society.

"Among us in Poland there are other nationalities. We might have another skin colour or another nose shape, but we're also Polish," Maciej Bohosiewicz said in Warsaw.

The lawyer of Arminian origin heads the joint commission of government representatives and ethnic minorities.

Patron of the campaign is the wife of the Polish president, Maria Kaczynska.

Prejudice against minorities originated in ignorance that had to be overcome, she said.

Minority representatives have displayed boards showing their pride of being both Polish and members of ethnic minority groups.

Poles of German origin are represented by Magda Dercz, who said the image of Germans in Poland had recently been severely damaged. She is angered by negative comments and wants to change it.

Before World War II, Poland was a multi-ethnic state. It emerged as an ethnically nearly homogenous state as a consequence of the Holocaust and changing borders after the war.

Ethnic minorities today account for around 3 per cent of residents in Poland, which has a population of 38 million.

The largest ethnic minorities are Germans, Belarusians and Ukrainians. ( Dpa )