Polish homophobia condemned

May 23, 2006

L to R: Derek Lennard, UK coordinator of IDAHO, Maeve McGoldrick of the British Youth Council which organised the protest, Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!, and Baroness Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat MEP
LONDON — Fifty people picketed the Polish Embassy in London last Thursday in protest at "increased homophobia in Poland and the Polish government's intensified victimisation of its lesbian and gay citizens."

The London protest was one of a series of protests in dozens of cities across the world to mark IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia.

The Polish Embassy demo was organised by the British Youth Council, and was supported by the LGBTI human rights group OutRage! and by IDAHO.

"The latest homophobic attack is Poland's new Education Bill. It includes a Section 28-style clause that will outlaw any objective, factual or sympathetic mention of homosexuality in schools. It is feared gay teachers may be sacked. We are urging people to protest to the Polish Embassy ( polishembassy@polishembassy.org.uk )" said David Allison of OutRage!

Polish junior education Minister, Miroslaw Orzechowski, told a recent press conference that the new Education Bill will: "punish whoever promotes homosexuality or any other deviance of a sexual nature in educational establishments."

The IDAHO protest in London was addressed by four keynote speakers:

Maeve McGoldrick, spokesperson for the protest organisers, the British Youth Council, said:

"The UK has strong bi-lateral relations with Poland. We call on the UK government to take action within the EU and the Council of Europe to challenge Poland's anti-gay policies."

"Our Polish Embassy protest united with campaigners internationally; paying tribute to all those who have suffered at the hands of homophobia," she said.

Derek Lennard, IDAHO UK coordinator added:

"It is extremely important to stand up for the human rights of victimised people in a neighbouring European country. We have to ensure that the Polish lesbian and gay community is not discriminated against by its government," he said.

On the 25 April 2007, Members of European Parliament called on the Polish government to abandon the homophobic clause in the new Education Bill, which outlaws the so-called "promotion" of homosexuality in schools.

In response the European Parliament asked the Polish government to:

"publicly condemn and take measures against declarations by public leaders inciting discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation."

"Polish government ministers have refused to accept or even consider these criticisms," said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

"We are urging the UK and EU to pressure the Polish government to halt its anti-gay repression and to respect international norms of human rights.

"The EU and Council of Europe should threaten Poland with sanctions if it goes ahead with the new anti-gay law.

"We call on the British government, MPs and the gay community to protest to the Polish Ambassador in London," said Mr Tatchell. – Issued by Outrage!

Related stories
Poland to crack down on �homosexual propaganda� in schools



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