50 countries from around the world have signed an open letter calling for an end to the anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in Poland.
In recent years, the Polish government have targeted sexual minorities and supported organisations that spread homophobia.
The country’s ruling Law and Justice Party have inspired several towns in Poland to declare themselves an “LGBT-free zone” free from “LGBT ideology,” putting vulnerable LGBTQ+ citizens at risk of discrimination, prejudice and violence.
The letter, which was co-ordinated by Belgium’s embassy in Warsaw, said the Polish government is obliged to “protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities.”
“To this end, and in particular 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 reads.
“This includes in particular sectors such as education, health, social affairs, citizenship, public service and public documents.
“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 ends by stating that “human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment,” and that this is “something that everyone should support.”
Last week, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden quote-tweeted an article from ABC News, in which Ursula von der Leyen – the new head of the European commission – criticised Poland’s ruling party for their anti-LGBTQ+ approach to policy and human rights.
“Let me be clear: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights — and “LGBT-free zones” have no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world,” Biden wrote.
Von Der Leyen gave a passionate speech at the European parliament in Brussels, where she criticised the Law and Justice Party for their discriminative views towards the LGBTQ+ community.
She also hit out at EU member states for watering down protections and police on human rights to satisfy their own political agenda.
“Being yourself is not your ideology,” Von der Leyen stated in her speech. “It’s your identity. So I want to be crystal clear – LGBTQI-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our union.”