Belgium spearheaded some 50 countries in issuing a declaration of support for Poland’s LGBTQ community, facing increasing hostilities as authorities fuel homophobia and support discriminatory practices.
In an open letter published on Sunday, over two dozen diplomats throw their weight behind efforts to uphold human rights in the country and to “end discrimination in particular on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The letter, coordinated by the Belgian Embassy in Poland, calls for authorities to protect “all citizens” from violence and discrimination and to ensure they can enjoy “equal opportunities.”
The declaration follows months of repressive and discriminatory policies endorsed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which have fuelled homophobia and emboldened local authorities to create “LGBTQ-free zones” in several towns and cities from which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people were banned.
Last year, several Flemish cities also denounced the Polish government for stoking homophobia and trampling on the rights of the country’s queer communities.
While not enforceable, PiS’ fiercely conservative rhetoric has enabled the exclusion and stigmatisation of LGBTQ communities in the public space, effectively allowing homophobic sentiment to be put on display.”
The declaration highlighted the obligation by all signatories to universal human rights treaties and declarations, including Poland to “to protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities.”
Sharing the letter in a tweet, the US Ambassador to Poland issued a pointed rebuke to PiS, who repeatedly depicts LGBTQ rights as an “ideology” akin to communism.
“Human rights are not an ideology – they are universal,” US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher wrote. “50 ambassadors and representatives agree.”