Europe’s local and regional governments defend human rights on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2020
CEMR Secretary General and Chair of the CEMR Standing Committee for Equality address an open letter to Polish local and regional governments
On the occasion of the 17th May 2020 – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – the Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Frédéric Vallier, and the Regional Councillor of Östergötland and Chair of CEMR’s Standing Committee for Equality, Emil Broberg, have jointly penned an open letter addressed to Polish municipalities, counties and regions regarding the situation in Polish cities.
Since early last year there has been striking backlash against the LGBTI community in a number of Polish municipalities and cities. Around 100 Polish local governments, including 5 voivodeships, have issued resolutions proclaiming themselves to be ‘‘free from LGBTI ideology’’ and pledging to remove financial assistance from NGOs working to promote equal rights. Others have pursued another, more implicit, tactic of normalising hate and discrimination against LGBTI people: The Local Government Charter of the Rights of the Family.
These actions of some Polish local and regional governments have stoked up hatred and led to real attacks against people, including a member of CEMR’s Policy Committee and Mayor of Cologne, Mr. Andreas Wolter who received a death threat after participating in the 3rd Equality March in Katowice in September 2019.
Further confirmation of the gravity of the situation in Poland came this week with the publication of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights survey on LGBTI equality, which revealed that in Poland, intolerance towards LGBTI people has increased overall and the highest rates of physical or sexual attacks motivated by the victim being LGBTI are observed in Poland (15%).
The open letter expresses concern about the troubling situation and seeks to counter the rise in anti-LGBTI rhetoric and discriminatory council resolutions of the past year. It also affirms their support for Polish local and regional governments that have rejected and resisted discriminatory measures and who continue to champion the common fundamental European values of freedom and human rights.
CEMR has invited its member associations and European local elected representatives who wish to support this initiative to endorse the open letter by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/FfT2jTh6pq2KASya6
A list of endorsements will be regularly updated on the CEMR webpage and the Observatory of the European Charter for Equality. (*last updated 9 June 2020)