General

Poland

Country Report: General Last updated: 16/04/21

Author

Independent

There are six detention centres in Poland, which are generally profiled according to demographics: Lesznowola, Białystok, Przemyśl (since 13 October 2020) and Krosno Odrzańskie are for men. Women, married couples, and families with children are placed in Kętrzyn and Biała Podlaska (closed for renovation). Unaccompanied children are placed in the detention centre in Kętrzyn. The detention centres in Krosno Odrzańskie, Białystok, Przemyśl and Biała Podlaska have rooms with barred windows.[1]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lower occupancy, the number of places in detention centres in Lesznowola and Białystok was reduced. Furthermore, detention centres in Biała Podlaska and Białystok (only one part of the centre) was closed due to its renovation.

As of 31 December 2020, out of the 248 persons detained, 125 were asylum seekers. Given that 2,803 persons applied for asylum in Poland in 2020, it cannot be said that the majority of asylum seekers in Poland are detained. There were no cases of overcrowding in detention centres during that year.[2] Foreigners are obliged to pay for their stay in a detention centre calculated on the basis of algorithm, set in the Polish law.

Contrary to 2017 (when 246 asylum seekers were detained in total), Border Guard did not collect the data on the number of asylum seekers detained in guarded centres in 2020. In general, 739 foreigners were placed in detention centres in 2020 and 33 foreigners were released on the basis of health considerations.[3]

According to the Office for Foreigners, the asylum cases of asylum applicants placed in detention are prioritised but it does not mean that they are examined more quickly when the cases are complex.[4] In practice it means that asylum seekers have only 3-7 days to present additional evidence in their case, before an asylum decision is made. In addition, NGOs claim that in the case of detained asylum seekers, the Refugee Board does not conduct evidentiary proceedings, meaning that they do not assess the grounds for applying for international protection.[5] Additionally during the proceedings in second instance asylum seekers have only 3-7 days to present the final evidence in their case. The interview is conducted through videoconference in the presence of a psychologist (e.g. in the detention centre in Ketrzyn). According to NGOs, sometimes psychologists are only available in the premises of the Head of the Office for Foreigners and not in the centre where the individual is detained. Additionally, asylum seekers complain about poor quality of the videoconference, claiming that they cannot hear what was being said.[6]

 

 

[1] Information provided by the Border Guards, 5 February 2021, Commissioner for Human Rights, Wyciąg, Strzeżony Ośrodek dla Cudzoziemców w Białej Podlaskiej,18-19 July 2018, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2TBZ3OY.

[2] Information provided by the Border Guard, 5 February 2021.

[3] Information provided by Legal Intervention Association (February- 2021).

[4] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 2021.

[5] Information provided by Rule of Law Institute, 20 January 2020.

[6] Information provided by Halina Niec Association, 16 February 2021.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation