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  • 1 Faculty of Law and Administration, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin Justice of the Supreme Administratice Court, Lublin Branch
  • | 2 Faculty of Law, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, Warsaw Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
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The Polish Constitution adopted on 2 April 1997, for the first time after the war, contains a provision dedicated exclusively to protecting national and ethnic minorities, however without a definition of those two categories. The legislator extended the rights of national and ethnic minorities beyond those identified in the Article 35. The extension of such rights also results from international agreements. Thus far there is no statute regulating in a comprehensive and complete manner the situation of national and ethnic minorities (the Constitution does not make its adoption mandatory), the legal regulations concerning these issues are dispersed. The problem of legal definition of the national minority appeared in connection with the initiative of the formal recognition of the Union of People of Silesian Minority. Its application has been rejected by Polish courts for the reason of non-existence of such a minority and for the attempt of abuse of the electoral privilege granted to national minorities. The Supreme Court's position has been confirmed by the Chamber and then by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. However the 2002 national census revealed a new phenomenon of the Silesian minority: 3% of the inhabitants of the region declared their affinity to Silesian nationality.