In an Open Letter to the President and Prime Minister of Poland and EU Leaders ILGA demands Action
Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland,
Marek Belka, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland,
Anthony Blair, Future President of the Council of the European Union,
Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,
Josep Borrell Fontelles, President of the European Parliament,
Brussels, 23 June 2005
ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, would like to express its most profound concern with recent anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) violence and harassment in Poland, and demands that the competent authorities take firm measures to put an end not only to the violence but also to the homophobic public environment that makes such human rights abuses possible.
Last month, the Mayor of Warsaw decided to refuse to issue a permit for the city’s Gay Pride parade. Less than a week after an improvised march took place, the Mayor issued a permit for a so-called “normality parade.” This “normality parade” was nothing other than an anti-gay demonstration whose main objective was an incitation to hate and intolerance towards LGBT people.
The marching of openly fascist skinheads throughout the streets of Warsaw, preaching hate against vulnerable minorities and tolerated – if not supported – by government officials has not been seen in Europe since the dark days of the 1930s. As you know Lesbians and Gay Men were one of the target groups for Nazis. Who would have thought we would see ourselves again the target of fascists with no protection from a so-called modern European Government in 2005? It is a disgrace and threat to the values of peace and tolerance that European society has strived to create over the last 60 years.
Such hate and intolerance only breeds more hate and intolerance, especially when it comes from public officials. Since this infamous “normality march,” anti-gay violence has been on the rise in Poland. ILGA member groups the Campaign Against Homophobia and Lambda Warsaw have reported an increase in violence against LGBT people throughout the country, culminating a few days ago with the shooting and injuring of two individuals outside of a gay venue in Katowice.
We call on you, the leaders of a modern and democratic Poland, as well as the representatives of a European Union based in the respect of human dignity and rights, to put an end to this unacceptable situation. We call on you to ensure that the security of LGBT people be fully protected, that people guilty of incitation to hatred be punished to the full extent of the law, and that it be made clear that homophobia is not an acceptable form of public discourse.
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Kursad Kahramanoglu
ILGA Read more
on the Pride in Warsaw. Click here to see the call for help from Polish LGBT groups