In an effort to support the queer community in Hungary, embassies around the world have signed an open letter demanding their “freedom from violence.”
The joint statement, which was published Monday (19 July), comes days before the Budapest Pride festival.
“On the occasion of the 26th Budapest Pride Festival, we, the undersigned embassies and cultural institutes, express our full support for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community and their rights to equality and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom from violence,” the letter said.
The embassies went on to condemn the current anti-LGBTQ+ laws and behavior from the government in Hungary.
“Concerned by recent developments that threaten the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, we encourage steps in every country to ensure the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and stress the need for elected leaders and governments to show respect for and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ persons,” the letter continued.
The powerful letter was signed by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, General Delegation of Flanders, Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest, British Council, Czech Center, Estonian Institute, FinnAgora, Goethe-Institut, Institut Français, Instituto Camões, Instituto Cervantes, Italian Cultural Institute, and Wallonie-Bruxelles International.
The inclusive statement comes a week after the European Commission announced plans to take legal action against Hungary.
On 15 June, lawmakers passed an anti-LGBTQ+ law that bans “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.
MEPs called the Hungarian law “a clear breach of the EU’s values, principles and law” and last week urged the European Commission to pursue a legal case against Viktor Orbán’s government.
459 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the resolution, with 147 against and 58 abstaining in Strasbourg. If the case is brought to the European Court of Justice, Hungary could face financial penalties.
Even with the threat of legal action, the Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, claims that the anti-LGBTQ+ law has been put in place to protect children. But activists have rightly pointed out that this dangerous way of thinking continues to conflate paedophilia with homosexuality.
“The European Parliament and the European Commission want that we let LGBTQ activists and organisations into the kindergartens and schools. Hungary does not want that,” Orbán said previously. “Here Brussels bureaucrats have no business at all.”
Read the full European Commission statement here.