3.4.6 Other relevant issues
Regular co-operation with Polish Diaspora communities, which live mostly in the USA, Great Britain and France, as well as dissemination of information on Polish cultural heritage beyond the borders, is one of the major tasks of Polish foreign and cultural policy. Stowarzyszenie Wspólnota Polska (Polish Community Association) gives funding to projects elaborated by associations or institutes established by the Polish Diaspora.
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, as well as other institutions like the State Archives and the National Library, have been involved for many years in disseminating information on Polish heritage outside of Poland as well as safeguarding and protecting monuments, sites, archives e.g. in Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. Most of this activity is realised via bilateral agreements (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Poland financially supports the following areas in this field:
The Permanent Conference of Museums, Archives and Polish Libraries in the West involves 20 institutes operating in Canada, Great Britain, USA, Italy, France, etc., which can apply to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for funding of their projects via Polish partners since 2005.
Poland cooperates internationally also in the field of human rights. In 1989 the Polish branch of the Amnesty International was formed. At the same time, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland started to operate.
As a member of the United Nations, Poland ratified a significant part of international agreements concerning protection of human rights, among others: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Poland initiated also adaptation of the Convention on Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and the Convention of the Rights of Children.
With the official accession to the Council of Europe in 1991, Poland has adopted the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and then made a declaration recognising the competence of the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.
The first Eastern Partnership Culture Congress took place on 21-23 October 2011 in Lublin. Its aim was to stress the importance of cultural linkages among the EU Member States and Eastern Partnership Countries and influence the European Commission to provide specific measures for cultural workers, organisations and institutions enabling a fostering of cooperation and exchange of experience. 300 participants discussed various issues concerning the situation of artists and cultural workers. A short summary of the Congress states: "Cultural cooperation within a shared space, embracing both the countries of the European Union and of Eastern Europe outside the Schengen zone, can only be achieved by supporting the international and solidarity-driven unity of the cultural community. This community should forge a network as a tool for facilitating the accomplishment of the idea of the Eastern Partnership as a cultural project. An authentic involvement and practical effort of the representatives of cultural fraternities should also be supported by the local, central and supranational authorities." The Congress has a chance to become the starting point for new and better cultural linkages between the countries in question. For more information and further steps see the Congress website: http://www.lublin.eu/Congress-1-1088-63-1331.html