An open letter signed by ambassadors from 50 countries calls out Poland for hostility towards LGBTQ people and denouncing towns that declare themselves free of ‘LGBT ideology.’
The letter, which was coordinated by Belgium’s embassy in Warsaw according to the BBC, expresses the group’s 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.”
Among the many diplomats who signed the letter are representatives from the U.S., Australia, India, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., New Zealand and Japan.
Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for affirming “the inherent dignity of each individual,” the open letter urges Poland to respect and protect its LGBTQ community which has faced backlash from the country’s right-wing government.
“Respect for these fundamental rights…obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities,” writes the group of diplomats.
“Human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment,” the letter reads in closing before adding, “This is something that everyone should support.”
The BBC reports that nearly 100 towns across Poland have approved local ordinances denouncing “LGBT ideology.” The resolutions carry no penalties but they serve to further divide the country amid the country’s culture wars.
Georgett Mosbacher, U.S. Ambassador to Poland, tweeted a link to the open letter with the message, “Human Rights are not an ideology – they are universal. 50 Ambassadors and Representatives agree.”
Human Rights are not an ideology – they are universal. 50 Ambassadors and Representatives agree. https://t.co/YV4qgkpz54
— Ambasador Mark Brzezinski (@USAmbPoland) September 27, 2020
But Polish leaders clapped back saying LGBT people in his country are not “deprived” of respect.
“To the dear ambassadors, I can only say that tolerance belongs to Polish DNA,” announced Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a press conference. “Nobody needs to teach us tolerance, because we are a nation that has learned such tolerance for centuries and we have given many testimonies to the history of such tolerance.”
That said, the Associated Press reports that conservative leaders in the predominantly Catholic nation see the modern fight for LGBTQ civil rights as “a threat to traditional families.” And ILGA Europe has ranked Poland as the worst country in the European Union for LGBTQ people.
President Andrzej Duda won his second term in office after campaigning against equality for queer people and calling “LGBT rights an ‘ideology’ more dangerous than communism.”
Poland has no legal recognition of same-sex marriage or civil unions, and same-sex couples have no legal right to adopt children.
During the campaign this summer, Duda called for banning all adoptions by same-sex couples.
VICE News did an in-depth report into the scare tactics and challenges LGBTQ people face in Poland this summer.