Ambassadors call on Poland to protect LGBT rights

File photo. People take part in the Equality March in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights in Wroclaw, western Poland, 3 October 2020. The sign reads (C) 'We Love who we want, Kaczynski loves a cat!'. [EPA-EFE/Maciej Kulczynski]

Dozens of ambassadors to Warsaw on Monday (17 May) called for the protection of LGBT rights in Poland, whose record on the issue was found to be the worst in the EU by an international watchdog.

Gay rights have become a flashpoint issue in Poland in recent years under the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which campaigns against what it calls “LGBT ideology”, likening the promotion of gay rights to a form of communism.

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“Apart from such …

“We express our support for the efforts to raise public awareness of issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community and other communities in Poland facing similar challenges,” the open letter said.

“To shield communities in need of protection from verbal and physical abuse and hate speech, we need to jointly work on an environment of non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual acceptance,” it said.

The letter was signed by diplomats from 40 countries, including the US and most of Poland’s EU partners, as well as representatives from the European Commission, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and other organisations.

In December, the Council of Europe classed Poland’s record for LGBT rights as the worst in the EU and said leading politicians had made the situation even worse in recent years.

PiS party chief Jarosław Kaczyński has said gay people are a threat to the traditional family and President Andrzej Duda has equated “LGBT ideology” with communism.

With support from the government, several regions have also declared themselves free from “LGBT ideology” in Poland.

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French Europe Minister Clément Beaune said he was dissuaded by Polish authorities from visiting what he called an “LGBT-free zone” in defence of civil liberties on a trip to Poland, but the government in Warsaw denied it had blocked access.

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