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12 April 2024

Poland: Migration and integration narratives in local elections

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This report was produced by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) as part of the Artemis Alliance programme 'Gender and Migration: Will Stereotypes and Misinformation Influence the 30 September 2025 Polish Local Elections?', funded by the ZINC Network. It presents the results of the examination of the social media profiles of candidates in local elections, discussions around them, and media narratives in 6 local communities in Poland: Warsaw, Wroclaw, Bydgoszcz, Plock, Lubelskie province and Podlaskie province. The internet monitoring tool used by HFHR to conduct this research was provided free of charge by SentiOne.

The report finds that although local government institutions play a key role in the system of migration and integration policies and although local communities may experience social tension the absence of such policies, issues of migration and integration were almost absent from the 2024 local election campaign in Poland. The report further notes that the lack of broader debate on these issues in Poland has fostered the bottom-up spread of negative narratives around the consequences of immigration, including by populist radical right parties.

According to the report, the most common narratives about immigrants in Poland are those related to the 'Ukrainisation' of the Polish public space. It gives the examples of a broad public discussion, mostly negative in tone, on the granting of voting rights to Ukrainian migrants in local elections, a growing perspective that Ukrainian immigrants in the country occupy a more privileged social position than Poles, and an increasingly-held belief that Ukrainians are more likely to commit crimes or cause car accidents. In addition, the report highlights negative comments about the potential arrival of certain immigrants, predominantly young men from countries culturally different from Poland, and an assumed link by some members of the public between these new arrivals and a rise in the number of sex and gender-based crimes against women.

HFPC Report 2024
(1.43 MB - PDF)


Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka
Geographic area
Contributor type
Non-Governmental Organisations/Civil Society
Original source
Posted by
Magdalena Lesinska
Country Coordinator

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