"Human rights are universal". 48 ambassadors sign an open letter
Human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment. This is the key message of an open letter signed by 48 ambassadors to Poland, as well as by representatives of international organisations based in Warsaw.
"On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), we express our support for the efforts to raise public awareness of issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community and other communities in Poland facing similar challenges" - the open letter reads.
The signatories stressed they "acknowledge the efforts of the organisers of the equality parade and marches in Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Częstochowa, Gdynia, Gniezno, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Kalisz, Katowice, Kielce, Konin, Koszalin, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Olsztyn, Opole, Piła, Płock, Poznań, Radomsko, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Toruń, Trójmiasto, Warsaw, Włocławek, Wrocław and Zielona Góra".
Furthermore, they said they "affirm the inherent dignity of each individual as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".
"Respect for these fundamental rights, which are also enshrined in OSCE commitments and the obligations and standards of the Council of Europe and the European Union as communities of rights and values, obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities" - they authors wrote.
"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" - they stressed.
This includes in particular sectors such as education, health, social affairs, citizenship, public service and public documents.
The letter signatories also paid respect "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".
"Human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons - are entitled to their full enjoyment. This is something that everyone should support" - the authors conclude.
"Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!"
U.S. Embassy in Warsaw on Monday published Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
"This year’s May 17 marks 16 years since the first International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). In the intervening period, the United States has endeavored to reaffirm the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons. To be sure, we have encountered challenges and setbacks in our path toward inclusion, and our work is not yet complete" - Blinken underscored.
"The message of 'Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!' is especially poignant as this year’s IDAHOTB theme. Ending hatred and violence against LGBTQI+ persons requires collaborative action from us all. The United States is doing its part. Within the first weeks of his administration, President Biden issued a Memorandum instructing all U.S. federal agencies working abroad to 'ensure that U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.' And that important work is well underway" - the Secretary of State said.
Blinken also listed key areas in which the United States considered a priority: "combatting criminalization of LGBTQI+ status or conduct; protecting vulnerable LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers; providing funding to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; responding to human rights abuses of LGBTQI+ persons; and building coalitions and engaging international organizations in the fight against LGBTQI+ discrimination".
"Working together, we can create a world that respects and celebrates the dignity of all individuals. It is in partnership that we will achieve our goal of a rights-respecting, inclusive society where no one lives in fear because of who they are or whom they love" - he added.
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to human rights and fundamental freedoms. In celebrating the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons worldwide, the United States re-affirms this shared value: Everyone deserves to live in dignity" - Antony J. Blinken stressed.
Britain, Italy and Ukraine were among the nations that scored lower rankings in this year's "Rainbow Europe" index compiled by ILGA-Europe, which said legislative reforms had stalled due to increasing polarisation over LGBT+ rights.
"There's been a clear political backlash in many countries, and not just ones grabbing headlines like Poland and Hungary," Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe's executive director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has excluded same-sex marriage from the constitution, effectively banned gay adoptions and legal recognition of trans people, and often depicts homosexuality as an aberration.
In Poland, LGBT+ rights have become a flashpoint in a wider culture war unfolding between religious conservatives and liberals, highlighting what Paradis described as "growing political polarisation" in various countries.
"It's becoming harder to mobilise across the political spectrum to get the issues done. There's mounting opposition. There's also frankly a lack sometimes of political will to see it through," she said.
Paradis said countries including Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain and France had fallen behind on commitments to implement further LGBT+ rights reforms since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
There was praise, however, for North Macedonia and Bosnia, which both took steps to protect people who attend LGBT+ Pride marches.
Paradis said the launch of the EU's first LGBT+ strategy in November 2020 was further evidence that progress was possible during a pandemic.
Malta topped the Rainbow Europe rankings for the sixth consecutive year, improving its score by adding protections for LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees.
Iceland was commended for letting non-binary people, who do not identify as either male or female, to register their gender as "X" and allowing 15 to 17-year-olds to change legal gender with a parent or guardian's permission.
Paradis said proposals presented to advance LGBT+ rights in at least 15 countries, including France, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, could be implemented in the coming year.
"Governments have to follow through on their promises," she said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, polen.um.dk, pl.usembassy.gov, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Shutterstock