February 13, 2018 ILN Winter 2018

Statement by ABA Section of International Law Chair on 'Polish Death Camp' Law

By Steven M. Richman

Feb. 13, 2018

The American Bar Association condemns the just enacted law in the Republic of Poland, which criminalizes certain speech and other expressions of thought relating to “claims that the Polish Nation is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.”

As a matter of principle, we are concerned about any law that infringes individuals’ freedom of expression. This fundamental right is reflected in core international human rights instruments including the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The basic concept of the freedom of expression, including freedom from government interference in scholarship, debate, and the exchange of ideas, is the bedrock of an open and democratic society. We urge the government of the Republic of Poland to repeal this law.