Poland

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Poland shares the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It last participated in a meeting of the convention in 2014. Poland abstained from voting on an important United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Poland sees military utility in cluster munitions, but has never used them beyond training. It has produced cluster munitions, but has never exported them. Poland has detailed the types of cluster munitions that it stockpiles, but not the quantities.

Policy

The Republic of Poland has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Poland has not taken any steps to accede to the convention because it sees military utility in cluster munitions. Previously, in April 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the “humanitarian problems which result from the use of cluster munitions,” but said that Poland is “currently unable” to join the convention.[1] It stated that Poland’s accession “would imply the immediate need to forgo important capability of the Polish Armed Forces, thereby weakening our country’s defense capacity, which is not acceptable in light of the current security environment.”

Poland participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but made clear from the outset that it could not support a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions.[2] Poland participated as an observer at the convention’s negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and at the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008.[3]

Poland participated as an observer at the convention’s initial Meetings of States Parties and last attended a meeting of the convention in 2014.[4] Poland was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in August–September 2022.

Poland abstained from voting on an important UNGA resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible” in December 2022.[5] Poland has abstained from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

In 2015–2018, Poland provided a joint UNGA statement on cluster munitions on behalf of itself and other European Union (EU) member states that are not party to the convention—Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania—that reiterated their need to meet their own “legitimate security concerns and military and defence needs.”[6] However, Poland has not given a UNGA statement on behalf of the same group of states since 2018.

In March 2022, Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning Russia’s use of “banned cluster munitions” in an attack on the Cemetery of Victims of Totalitarianism in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which contains the graves of Polish soldiers and civilians.[7] It also endorsed a statement by the EU delegation to the United Nations (UN) that condemned Russia’s use of cluster munitions in Ukraine.[8] Civilian harm from the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine in 2022 has attracted media coverage in Poland and has sparked interest in Poland’s position on joining the convention.[9]

Poland has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[10] It voted in favor of a similar Human Rights Council resolution on Syria in June 2020.[11]

Poland is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use

Poland has consistently stated that the Polish Armed Forces have never used cluster munitions in combat situations.[12] In 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “As in previous years, [the] Polish Armed Forces did not use cluster munitions in either combat situations or training.”[13]

Poland regards its air-delivered cluster munitions, which entered into service in the 1980s during the Warsaw Pact-era, as “obsolete.” In 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “current military Air Force doctrine does not anticipate any use of air-delivered cluster munitions in military operations.”[14]

Production

Poland has produced cluster munitions, although the last time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the Monitor that the weapons were “still produced” was in 2010.[15]

At least four Polish companies produced cluster munitions in the past:

  • Zakłady Metalowe “DEZAMET” S.A. produced the ZK-300 Kisajno cluster bomb and the LBKas-250 cluster bomb, containing 120 LBok-1 bomblets.[16] It also produced a 98mm mortar projectile, and a 122mm projectile designed for the 2S1 “GOŹDZIK” howitzer.[17]
  • The Kraśnik defense plant produced cluster munitions for 98mm mortars, 122mm artillery, and 152mm artillery.[18]
  • Tłocznia Metali Pressta Spółka Akcynjna manufactured 122mm rockets.[19]
  • Fabryka Produkcji Specjalnej Spółka z o.o. produced 122mm M-21FK “FENIKS-Z” and 122mm “HESYT” rockets, as well as GKO submunitions, a type of dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM).[20]

Some of these firms are subsidiaries of Polish Defense Holding, which is a majority government-owned industry consortium of defense sector companies, formerly known as the Bumar Group.[21]

According to a January 2023 media report, Poland reportedly discontinued the production of its 122mm FENIKS-Z cluster munition rockets after France—a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions—declined to continue supplying the rocket motors.[22]

Transfer

In April 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Poland’s stockpiled cluster munitions “are kept under strict control and are not subject to any international transfers.”[23]

Poland is not known to have transferred cluster munitions in the past. In 2009, Poland stated that cluster munitions manufactured by Poland were “exclusively for the needs of the Polish Armed Forces.”[24] In 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Monitor that Poland and/or Polish companies had not exported any cluster munitions in previous years.[25]

Stockpiling

Poland possesses a stockpile of ground-launched and air-dropped cluster munitions, mostly of Polish origin, although some originate from the former Soviet Union.[26]

Polish land forces are equipped with the following types of cluster munitions:

  • 122mm M-21FK “FENIKS-Z” rockets, containing 42 GKO submunitions, used by BM-21/21M or RM-70/85 multi-barrel rocket launchers;
  • 122mm “HESYT-1” artillery projectiles, containing 20 GKO submunitions, used by 2S1 “GOŹDZIK” self-propelled howitzers; and
  • 98mm “RAD-2” mortar projectiles, containing 12 GKO submunitions, used by M-98 mortars.

The Polish Air Force possesses the following types of cluster munitions:

  • ZK-300 cluster bombs containing 315 LBOk fragmentation bomblets—both the carrier and bomblets were designed and produced in Poland; and
  • BKF cartridges with antivehicle, incendiary, and fragmentation bomblets, imported from the former Soviet Union, for use in KMG-U dispensers on Su-22 aircraft.

In 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Polish Armed Forces no longer possessed RBK-250, RBK-250-275, and RBK-500 type cluster bombs as they were withdrawn from service during the 1990s and destroyed.[27]

In April 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the “Polish Armed Forces are equipped with modern type[s] of cluster munitions which possess self-deactivation mechanisms, thus guaranteeing a very high level of reliability.”[28]



[1] Letter from Marcin Wróblewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Hector Guerra, Director, ICBL-CMC, 21 April 2020. Poland has provided similar responses to the Monitor in the past. See, for example, letter from Marcin Wróblewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW), 28 April 2017.

[2] Poland was one of three states attending the February 2007 conference (which launched the convention process) that did not endorse the Oslo Declaration, in which states pledged to negotiate a legally-binding instrument by the end of 2008 prohibiting cluster munitions that cause unacceptable humanitarian harm.

[3] For details on Poland’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 226–227.

[4] Poland participated as an observer at the first three Meetings of States Parties of the convention in 2010–2012, as well as at intersessional meetings in 2013–2014. It did not attend the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2015, or the Second Review Conference held in two parts in November 2020 and September 2021.

[5]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[6] Statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 8 November 2018; statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 31 October 2017; statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 31 October 2016; and statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 4 November 2015.

[7] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, “A Russian cluster bomb fell on the Cemetery of victims of Totalitarianism in Kharkiv,” 23 March 2022.

[8]Statement of EU Delegation to the UN, UNGA, New York, 23 March 2022. The statement was made on behalf of EU member states and Albania, Andorra, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, and Ukraine.

[9] See, for example, Marcin Łuniewski, “Thermobaric bombs, cluster munitions, white phosphorus. Russia breaks all the rules,” Rzeczpospolita, 10 February 2023.

[10]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020. Poland voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions on Syria in 2013–2019.

[11]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution 43/28, 22 June 2020.

[12] In 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan had been equipped with cluster munitions for 98mm mortars, but also said that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to not use cluster munitions in Afghanistan “has been put into effect through the order of the Chief of General Staff” of the Polish Armed Forces. Letter from Marek Sczygieł, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 July 2010; and ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 235–236.

[13] Letter from Marcin Wroblewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, HRW, 28 April 2017. Previously, in 2011, Poland acknowledged that its army and air force used cluster munitions for training purposes in 2009–2011 at training grounds. Letter from Tomasz Łękarski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2011.

[14] Letter from Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2009.

[15] Letter from Marek Sczygieł, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 July 2010.

[16] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 391; and Zakłady Metalowe, DEZAMET S.A., “Air Armament,” undated. As of June 2017, the submunition variant was no longer listed as available for sale.

[17] Zakłady Metalowe, DEZAMET S.A. website, undated.

[18] Zakłady Metalowe, DEZAMET S.A., “Cargo Ammunition,” undated; and Marcin Górka, “Poland Sees Nothing Wrong in Cluster Bombs,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 9 September 2008.

[19] Terry J. Gander and Charles Q. Cutshaw, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2001–2002 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2001), p. 626.

[20] In 2009, Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said GKO submunitions had been produced since 2001 and feature a self-destruct mechanism that ensures “negligible failure rates of the submunitions in all environmental conditions.” Letter from Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2009.

[21] Polish Defense Holding, “Who We Are,” undated.

[22] The media report cites Brig.-Gen. Jarosław Wierzcholski. See, Jakub Palowski, “Breaking the taboo: Cluster munitions needed in Ukraine, Poland and NATO [OPINION],” Defence 24 Poland, 7 January 2023.

[23] Letter from Marcin Wróblewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Hector Guerra, Director, ICBL-CMC, 21 April 2020.

[24] Letter from Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2009.

[25] Letters from Tomasz Łękarski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2011; from Marek Sczygieł, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 July 2010; and from Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2009.

[26] Unless otherwise noted, all information on stockpiles was provided in a letter from Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2009.

[27] Letter from Marek Sczygieł, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 July 2010.

[28] Letter from Marcin Wróblewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Hector Guerra, Director, ICBL-CMC, 21 April 2020.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Poland signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 27 December 2012, becoming a State Party on 1 June 2013.

Poland has reported that the Mine Ban Treaty, as an international agreement, is superior to domestic law once ratified and applies directly in Poland.[1] It has indicated that national implementation measures may be addressed through an amendment to the Penal Code.[2]

Poland regularly submits Article 7 transparency reports, and submitted 11 transparency reports prior to ratifying the treaty.[3] Poland served on the Committee on Cooperative Compliance in 2017–2018 and the Committee on Stockpile Destruction in 2014.

Poland has attended most meetings of the Convention, most recently the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018. Poland also attended the Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, in June 2014. It did not attend the intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2019.

Poland is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Poland is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

Production, transfer, use, stockpiling, and destruction

Poland has regularly stated that it does not produce, export, or use antipersonnel mines.[4]

In the past, Poland produced three types of antipersonnel mines and imported a fourth type. Poland exported antipersonnel mines until 1993. An export moratorium in 1995 was made permanent by cabinet decree on 7 April 1998, which was then superseded by a law adopted in September 2002.[5]

In its initial Article 7 report provided in November 2013, Poland declared a stockpile of three types of antipersonnel mines: PSM-1, PMD-6, and MON-100.[6]

Poland completed the destruction of its stockpile in April 2016, more than a year before its treaty-mandated deadline.[7] Poland began destroying its stockpile of more than one million antipersonnel mines in 2003.[8] At the Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference in June 2014, Poland reiterated a previous announcement first made in 2012 that it had already completed destroying more than one million antipersonnel mines or 97% of its stockpile.[9] It stated that stockpile destruction was ongoing and would be completed “well before the 2017 deadline.”[10] It stated that the disposal of mines and their components was carried out in accordance with Polish labor and environmental protection standards.[11]

In its initial Article 7 report as a State Party submitted in November 2013, Poland confirmed that it is not retaining any antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes, as permitted under Article 3 of the convention.[12]



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 28 November 2013. The report also lists several domestic legal provisions on weapons controls and regulations of illegal materials as pertaining to the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Poland’s ratification legislation included a declaration with respect to interpretation of the ban on “assistance” contained in Article 1 of the Mine Ban Treaty. According to the declaration, “the mere participation in the planning or execution of operations, exercises or other military activity by the Polish Armed Forces, or individual Polish nationals, conducted in combination with the armed forces of states not party to the [Convention], which engage in activity prohibited under that Convention, is not, by itself, assistance, encouragement or inducement for the purposes of Article 1, paragraph (c) of the Convention.” Draft Ratification Bill, Parliament of the Republic of Poland, 21 June 2012.

[2] The rationale document also specifies that amendments to include antipersonnel mines will be made to Acts of the Council of Ministers of 3 December 2001 (Dz. U. Nr 145, poz. 1625, z późn. zm.) and 23 November 2004 (Dz. U. Nr 255, poz. 2557, zpóźn. zm.) on prohibitions and restrictions with regard to use, production, and trade of weapons, ammunition, and national security related goods. Draft Ratification Bill, Parliament of the Republic of Poland, 21 June 2012. Poland’s initial Article 7 report listed these and other domestic legal provisions as relevant to the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, but it is not clear that amendments have in fact been made to specifically include antipersonnel mines under their provisions.

[3] Poland submitted previous voluntary Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports in 2012 (for calendar year 2011), 2011 (for calendar year 2010), 2010 (for calendar year 2009), in 2009 (for calendar year 2008), and on 14 April 2008, 6 April 2007, 3 May 2006, 11 May 2005, 12 May 2004, and 5 March 2003.

[4] In 2006, Poland told the Monitor that current military doctrine does not foresee the use of antipersonnel mines, including in joint military operations or exercises with other states. Letter from Tadeusz Chomicki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2006. However, in January 2007 Poland said that it planned to install self-destruct or self-neutralization mechanisms on some antipersonnel mines. It has not referred to such plans since that time. In March 2008, officials stated that Poland does not rely on antipersonnel mines for the defense of its national territory or its bases abroad. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 867.

[5] “Ordinance of the Council of Minister of August 20, 2002 concerning the imposition of prohibition and restriction on transfer of goods and strategic importance for the state security,” Journal of Laws, 6 September 2002.

[6] Poland has previously acknowledged possessing MON-100 Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines, and said that these are “meant exclusively for mine-controlled detonation…[which] excludes the possibility of accidental detonation.” The MON-100 is described in Poland’s first voluntary Article 7 report in 2003 as a “directional fragmentation mine, if equipped with a MUW fuse attached to a tripwire.”

[7] Statement of Poland, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, November–December 2016.

[8] Poland initially reported 1,055,971 stockpiled antipersonnel mines at the end of 2002. During 2003, it destroyed 58,291 POMZ-2 (2M) mines due to expiration of shelf life. It destroyed another 12,990 stockpiled mines in 2005, again because their shelf life had expired.

[9] Statement of Poland, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 24 June 2014. In December 2013 and December 2012, Poland reiterated the announcement that it had already destroyed 97% of its stockpile of antipersonnel mines. In 2008, Poland announced destroying 651,117 mines, or two-thirds of its stockpile. This was a much more rapid destruction of stockpiles than previously planned. Poland further reduced its stockpile to 200,013 mines in 2009. No further reduction took place in 2010. In 2011, Poland reduced its stockpile to a total of 13,585 antipersonnel mines. As part of its search for alternatives to mines, in 2008 Poland started a research project “aimed at the development of a modern and comprehensive system of engineering obstacles (barriers),” which might include “explosive devices controlled by an operator.” As of June 2011, the project was reported to be 60% completed. See, statement of Wojciech Flera, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013; statement by Amb. Remigiusz A. Henczel, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 December 2012; Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form B; Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009); Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form B; Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form B; response to Monitor questionnaire by Adam Kobieracki, Director, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 April 2010; and letter from Tomasz Łękarski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2011.

[10] Statement of Poland, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 24 June 2014.

[11] Initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 28 November 2013.

[12] Initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 28 November 2013. Poland reiterated its intention not to retain any antipersonnel mines at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2013. Statement by Wojciech Flera, Minister Counsellor, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013. This was confirmed previously in a statement by Amb. Henczel, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 December 2012; and in a meeting with Col. Jaroslaw Rubaj, Counsellor-Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, and Jaroslaw Ogrodzinski, Deputy Chief of Non-proliferation and Disarmament Division, Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Defence, 25 May 2012. In the past, Poland stated it planned to retain about 5,000 antipersonnel mines for training purposes. In 2009, Poland used 326 empty antipersonnel mine casings to train demining squads for peacekeeping and stabilization missions, up from 295 casings used in 2008, and 144 in 2007. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Monitor that imitation mine casings were used for training in 2010. This has been indicated also in Poland’s 2011 Article 7 report. See, Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010); and response to Monitor questionnaire by Adam Kobieracki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 April 2010. He stated that PSM-1, PMD-6, POMZ-2, POMZ-2M, and MON-100 casings were being used for this purpose.


Mine Action

Last updated: 17 December 2012

Contamination and Impact

Poland remains contaminated by large quantities of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and, to a much lesser extent, mines from World War II. Poland has consistently stated there are no known or suspected mined areas in Poland.[1]The Ministry of National Defense has reported that scattered “single” emplaced mines, mostly antivehicle mines, have been found during clearance operations but most of those that have been destroyed are remnants of World War II stockpiles.[2]Poland is not believed to be affected by cluster munition remnants.

Mine Action Program

The army conducts clearance operations of former military facilities. It also conductsclearance operations in response to reports from the general public under a 2002 Ministry of National Defense order as well as according to other guidelines. Polish companies are involved in clearance operations within Poland. Polish deminers have also engaged in demining abroad as part of UN or other multinational operations.[3]

Land Release

Poland does not report formally on clearance of mines or ERW within Poland.[4]Its CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 transparency report for 2011 gives details of clearance by Polish deminers only during peace operations in Afghanistan.[5]

 



[1] See, for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010), Form C.

[2] See, for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 14 April 2008; letter from Grzegorz Poznanski, Deputy Director, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 May 2008; letter from Tadeusz  Chomicki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2006; and interview with Col. Marek Zadrozny, Ministry of National Defense, and Col. Slawomir Berdak, Polish Armed Forces, in Geneva, 8 May 2006.

[3] See, for example, CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, 23 September 2009; and Statement of Poland, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[4] See, for example, CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, 23 September 2009.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 11 December 2023

In 2022, Poland provided US$66,651 to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). Two-thirds of this total went to mine action activities in Palestine, while the rest of the funding was unearmarked.[1] This represented an annual decrease of 12% from Poland’s contribution to mine action in 2021, which totaled $75,599.

Contributions by recipient: 2022

Recipient

Sector

Amount (US$)

Palestine (Gaza Strip)

ERW clearance (UNMAS)

44,434

Global

Unearmarked (UNMAS)

22,217

Total

 -

66,651

            Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war.

Five-year support to mine action

In the five-year period from 2018–2022, Poland contributed $421,317 to mine action activities. Funding for mine action from Poland has only been recorded since 2015. For the period 2015–2017, Poland contributed a total of $180,622.

Summary of contributions: 2018–2022[2]

Year

Amount (US$)

% change from previous year (US$)

2022

66,651

-12

2021

75,599

-5

2020

79,416

-22

2019

102,775

+6

2018

96,876

-2

Total

421,317

N/A

                      Note: N/A=not applicable.

 

 


[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Piotr Szczepański, First Counsellor, Poland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 September 2023; and UNMAS, “Annual Report 2022,” April 2023, p. 120.

[2] See previous Support for Mine Action country profiles. ICBL-CMC, “Country Profiles: Poland,” undated.


Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 22 September 2015

Casualties

In 2014, at least four explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (three killed and one injured) were reported in the media in the Republic of Poland. In January a 37-year-old collector of ordnance was killed while trying to disarm a missile from World War II found in the woods in the village of Czarnotrzew.[1] In another incident in January a man was killed while working on explosive ordnance disposal for a private company.[2] In March a man was seriously injured while trying to dismantle unexploded ordnance.[3] A man diving to collect ordnance was killed in September.[4]

Two ERW casualties were reported in the media in 2013. In Czestochowa, a father and his son were killed in December 2013 due to the explosion of a bomb in a location used for training fighter pilots during World War II.[5]

In 2012, a man was killed by ERW, also likely dating from World War II.[6] Incidents with ERW caused two child casualties in 2011. Prior to the 2011 incident, the last time casualties were identified was in 2008, when 10 ERW casualties were reported.[7]

The Monitor identified a total of 212 mine/ERW casualties in Poland from 1999 to the end of 2014 (45 people were killed and 167 injured).[8] The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Poland is not known. Due to incomplete data collection, casualties may have been under-reported. Between 1945 and 1973, 3,833 civilians (including 3,189 children) were killed and 8,221 (including 6,656 children) were injured in mine/ERW incidents.[9] Between 1944 and 1994, 658 soldiers were killed and several thousand injured in clearance operations.[10]

There is no specific victim assistance coordination mechanism in Poland. The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is responsible for all disability-related matters. There is also a Government Plenipotentiary for Persons with Disabilities as well as a National Consultation Council for Persons with Disabilities, which organized training sessions for government officials to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities into society and to fight discrimination. The State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON) was established in 1991 in order to create new jobs and/or retain jobs for persons with disabilities, fund social rehabilitation, and to finance NGOs projects (mainly on advocacy and public awareness).[11]

Poland ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 27 September 2012.



[1]Kolekcjoner niewybuchów zginął w eksplozji pod Ostrołęką” (“Collector of unexploded ordnance killed in an explosion at Ostroleka”), Wirtualna Polska, 14 January 2014.

[2]Lubuskie: eksplozja niewybuchu; jedna ofiara” (“Lubusz: unexploded ordnance explosion; one victim”), Telewizja Polska (TVP) Info, 19 January 2014.

[3]48-latek poważnie raniony przez niewybuch” (“48-year-old seriously injured by unexploded ordnance”), NTO, 17 March 2014.

[4]Śmierć nurka w podwodnej eksplozji. Chciał wydobyć niewybuch?” (“Death of diver in underwater explosion. Did he want to take out the unexploded bomb?”), TVP Info, 7 September 2014.

[5]Częstochowa: eksplozja niewybuchów zabiła dwie osoby” (“Czestochowa: the explosion of unexploded ordnance killed two people”), TVP, 21 December 2013.

[6] Tomasz Dybalski, “Śmierć od niewypału. Dlaczego doszło do tragedii? (nowe fakty)” (“Death by misfire. Why was there a tragedy? (New facts)”), Echodnia (daily newspaper), 22 July 2012.

[7]Likely WWII Bomb Kills 2 Polish Children,” Associated Press (Warsaw), 24 March 2011; and Monitor analysis of data provided by email from Adam Kobieracki, Director of Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2009.

[8] See previous Landmine Monitor Reports on Poland.

[9] Letter from Maruisz Handzlik, Director of the Export Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 February 2001.

[10] Ibid.

[11] See Ministry of Labor and Social Policy website; and United States Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Poland,” Washington, DC, 27 February 2014.