LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Concerns over increased and state-supported homophobia in Poland

ILGA-Europe is concerned with the latest developments in Poland when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are increasingly becoming subjected to human rights violations, open hatred and even physical violence.

Most worrying is the fact that the Polish authorities and politicians do not condemn such developments and on some occasions even initiate and fuel anti-gay sentiments.

Recently, Lech Kaczynski, the Mayor of Warsaw, banned an Equality Parade in the capital. Defying such a gross violation of a right to assembly and expression, over 3,000 people marched through the Polish capital. Outraged, the Mayor now is threatening to sue organisers of the Equality Parade to bankrupt them financially. He also allowed the ‘normality parade’, which was nothing less than an organised anti-gay rally with slogans and shouts of hatred and incitement to violence, to take place in Warsaw in response to the Equality Parade.

Wojciech Wierzejki, another Polish politician and a member of the European Parliament, speaking at the ‘normality parade’ steered anti-gay sentiments and stated that “everybody who is identified as an out, active, gay activist should be exposed to social and moral intolerance. We cannot let them [homosexuals] show their faces in public and go on telling how abnormal they are.”

Latest communications from the Polish LGBT organisations raise alarms about increased number of cases of physical violence against LGBT people. In a statement issued on 21 June, the Polish LGBT organisations expressed their concerns about the fact that some politicians steer anti-gay propaganda and as a result they fear for their lives. As a result of the escalation of an anti-gay rhetoric, the number of attacks on LGBT individuals and clubs increased, even death threats have been sent.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We are very concerned about these developments in Poland. We call upon the Polish authorities to immediately intervene and to demonstrate in practice the protection for freedom and safety for the LGBT people in Poland. This would mean taking actions against hate crime and providing strong legal measures against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Europe must seriously condemn the failure of the Polish authorities to provide freedom and safety for its LGBT citizens and ensure that Poland is called to account for its failure and ensure proper protections are put in place. However, first of all we expect the Polish authorities to take a stance and to send a signal to the wider Polish community and all Europe, that the government condemns anti-gay hatred.”

For more information please contact Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights and equality at European level.