The European Parliament are voting on a resolution to declare the EU an “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in protest of Poland’s continuous attacks against the queer community.
Acknowledging the 2-year anniversary of Polish areas introducing ‘LGBTI-free zones‘, the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup put forward a resolution to name the EU as an “LGBTIQ freedom zone”. The proposition will be debated Tuesday March 9, with voting taking place on Wednesday March 10.
In a call for action against discrimination, the LGBTI Intergroup proposed the resolution as a sign of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. They wrote in a prepared statement, “This resolution is a signal to all LGBTIQ persons, organisations and activists that the European Parliament stands by their side and advocates for their rights.”
🌈 CALL FOR ACTION! 🌈
We’re launching a campaign under the #LGBTIQFreedomZone hashtag and we need your support!
You find all the info here: https://t.co/ANgDSpptO0
🏳️🌈 Join us in flying the rainbow flag over Europa on 8-10 March 202 pic.twitter.com/Nz6WWhCqwf
— LGBTI Intergroup (@LGBTIintergroup) February 26, 2021
“It is equally a signal to elected politicians, governments and decision-makers that discrimination against LGBTIQ persons in any way or form does not comply with European values,” the LGBTI Intergroup further state.
The LGBTI Intergroup are expecting the resolution to be voted in with a vast majority, while also calling for an online protest. Alongside the declaration of the EU as a “LGBTIQ freedom zone”, they are asking for the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and human rights groups to engage with a social media campaign.
From Monday, March 8, to Wednesday, March 10, the LGBTI Intergroup are asking people to share images of monuments with rainbow flags under the #LGBTIQFreedomZone. Accompanying the images, they provide the following statement, “Our rights, our freedom. We are not an ideology. We are proud citizens of the European #LGBTIQFreedomZone.”
Global pressure continues to mount on Poland in response to discriminatory policies targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Since 2019, activists and human rights groups have spoken out against the arrest of Elżbieta Podleśna, Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra.
The three activists were arrested for putting up images of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo as part of a protest against the “exclusion of LGBT+ people from society” by the Catholic church in Poland. Following a police investigation, they were charged under Article 196 of Poland’s criminal code, which gives the authorities broad powers to prosecute and criminalise individuals, in July 2020.
Senior campaigner in Amnesty International’s Europe Regional Office Catrinel Motoc said, “The charges should never have been brought against these women and it’s absolutely the right decision that they have been acquitted. They had risked up to two years in prison simply for standing up for LGBTI rights in a climate of hate and discrimination in Poland.”
“Targeting activists with such absurd and unfounded charges is part of a much wider pattern of harassment and intimidation of human rights activists across Poland,” Motoc continued.
Following two years of fighting against authorities and their discriminatory attacks against the three activists, Elżbieta Podleśna, Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra were acquitted of charges of “offending religious feelings by insulting an object of religious worship” by a court in the town of Płock. While Amnesty welcomed the decision, they argue the case should never have been brought to this stage.
Great news from #Poland this morning. Ela, Joanna and Anna have been ACQUITTED! They were on trial for 'offending religious beliefs’ for distributing posters of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo. #TeczaNieObraza 🇵🇱🏳️🌈 https://t.co/TpeuNmOPxn
— Amnesty LGBTI Network (@AmnestyLGBTI) March 2, 2021
🇵🇱 Polish activists Elżbieta, Anna and Joanna were just acquitted for charges of “offending religious beliefs”
🗣 Judge: “There is no provision in the catechism of the Catholic Church that excludes non-heteronormative persons. There is love, mutual respect and understanding”. https://t.co/nstbgLsXAX
— LGBTI Intergroup (@LGBTIintergroup) March 2, 2021
Speaking out against the discriminatory policies in Poland, Motoc further declared, “The acquittal of these brave human rights defenders shows that the prosecution attempt was nothing more than an intimidation tactic by the Polish authorities. We urge them to stop using the criminal justice system to target and harass human rights defenders simply because of their activism.”
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