Gov't backs national, ethnic minority rights - Polish minister

Leszek Szymański/PAP

The government supports and will support the rights of national and ethnic minorities, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said on Wednesday in Warsaw at a ceremony marking the 15th year of a Government-National and Ethnic Minority Joint Commission.

Kaminski said that all violations of national and ethnic minority rights in Poland will meet with "a firm response" by the Polish state.

Referring to the commission, Kaminski said that over its 15 years it had become an important dialogue platform for the government and minority representatives. He stressed that Poland's minorities constituted "a wonderful historical heritage" from the days of the multi-national First Polish Republic, and "a value we must pool our forces to protect."

"As interior minister I wish to assure you that the right to the free cultivation of national identity, cultural identity or religious identity is an irrevocable and fundamental right," Kaminski said told minority delegates at the event.

He also assured of the Polish government's support of national and ethnic minority rights. "We guarantee that anyone who dares infringe on the rights of national minorities in Poland, who dares attack members of national minorities on the grounds of their membership in their community, (...) will meet with a firm response by the Polish state," Kaminski said.

Kaminski also awarded distinctions to members of the commission..

The Government-National and Ethnic Minority Joint Commission first convened on September 21 2005.