Head of government Donald Tusk
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 38.1 million
Life expectancy 75.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 9/7 per 1,000
Adult literacy 99.3 per cent
The results of an investigation into Poland's alleged involvement in the US-led renditions (unlawful transfers of terrorist suspects between countries) and secret detention programme remained classified. Poland was referred to the European Court of Justice for failing to incorporate into national law the EU legislation prohibiting gender discrimination. International bodies criticized the impediments faced by women in accessing certain reproductive health services, including abortion, even when their lives were at risk. Poland was criticized for the use of criminal defamation legislation.
Counter-terror and security
The National Public Prosecutor continued to investigate allegations that Poland hosted a secret detention facility where "high value detainees" were interrogated by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2002 and 2003. In April, Roman Giertych, former head of a parliamentary commission, said that he had presented documentary evidence of potentially criminal acts to the government in 2006. Findings of the Commission remained classified. Former officials, including former President Aleksander Kwasniewski, denied the allegations, but acknowledged ongoing co-operation between the CIA and the Polish intelligence agency.
Also in April the TVP television station and the Rzeczpospolita newspaper published new evidence of Poland's involvement, including a flight book from Szymany airport where US jets were reported to have landed regularly in 2002 and 2003.
In July the National Public Prosecutor informed Amnesty International that his office had initiated an investigation in March 2008 into possible infringements of authority by public servants in connection with secret CIA operations in Europe. However, the scope and methodology of the investigation would not be made public, as it was classified information.
In May Poland was referred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission for failing to incorporate into national law EU legislation prohibiting gender discrimination in access to, and supply of, goods and services. The anti-discrimination legislation had not been adopted by the end of December. However, the government did prepare a draft law to strengthen the powers of the Commissioner for the Protection of Civil Rights to act as an equality body.
Sexual and reproductive rights
Women had difficulty accessing abortion services within the health system even when permitted by law, including in cases when their lives were at risk. Medical service providers and health institutions were not held accountable for denying access to lawful health services or for the consequences of that denial on women's health and lives. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticized Poland for not guaranteeing basic sexual and reproductive health services such as contraception and family planning services.