The Irish ambassador to Poland, Emer O’Connell, has co-signed an open letter expressing their support “for the efforts to raise public awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and other communities in Poland facing similar challenges.”
The letter includes signatories from 50 Ambassadors to Poland from countries including Croatia, India, Japan, South Africa, Ukraine and Venezuela and was coordinated by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Poland.
During the Campaign Against Homophobia’s annual Crown of Equality ceremony, the Ambassador of Belgium, Luc Jacobs, presented the open letter on behalf of the 50 signatories.
Over the past two years, the rise in homophobic discourse in Poland has resulted in over a third of the country declaring itself an ‘LGBT+ free zone’.
Since the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in Poland, the EU has continuously spoken out against this harmful rhetoric. In July 2020, the Commission rejected the applications of six ‘LGBTQI-free’ Polish towns for community funding because their discriminatory political stance does not respect “fundamental rights”.
Last week, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the ‘LGBT-free zones’ in Poland have “no place in the EU or the world”, quoting the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Earlier this month, Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher criticised the leader of Poland’s leading political party, Jarosław Kaczyński, who said that unless he and his party continue to oppose “culturally alien novelties” from the west, Poland could end up like Ireland.
“Our republic is stronger, not weaker because it is inclusive and progressive”, Mr Kelleher said.
— Emer O'Connell (@IRLeoconnell) September 27, 2020
The open letter from Polish Ambassadors acknowledges the hardship faced by LGBTQ+ people living in Poland in recent years and calls for universal human rights to be adhered to.
“We affirm the inherent dignity of each individual as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We pay tribute to the hard work of LGBTI and other communities in Poland and around the world, as well as the work of all those who seek to ensure human rights for LGBTI and other persons belonging to communities facing similar challenges, and to end discrimination in particular on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The letter concludes by calling on Poland to create “an environment of non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual acceptance” for every person.
“Human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment. This is something that everyone should support.”
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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