The IAFT is pleased to add its name to this statement by Sophie In’t Veld, MEP, and 40 other MEPs. In accordance with its principles of defence of individual freedoms and freedom of conscience, it can only support this text unreservedly.

We were appalled to see that the participants of the Equality March – that took place for the first time in the Polish city of Bialystok on 20 July – became victims of LGBTI-phobic hate speech and physical violence exhibited by far-right groups and football ultra-fans.

Hooligans tried to stop the peaceful march by throwing stones, eggs and firecrackers – as well as by beating up and verbally offending its participants – something widely reported in both traditional and social media. This happened only a few days after the Polish Magazine Gazeta Polska announced its plans to distribute “LGBT-free zone” stickers.

For many months, the ruling Law and Justice (PIS) party has been portraying the LGBTI community as the public enemy and a threat to traditional Polish and Catholic values. We are concerned to see such backlash stimulate anti-LGBTI sentiments in Poland and beyond.

Freedom of assembly, the right to dignity and to non-discrimination are pillars of democracy. Therefore, we strongly condemn such examples of LGBTI phobic hate speech and hate crimes and we encourage Polish authorities to do the same, in order to guarantee every citizen’s right to live a life free of discrimination and violence.  This is why, as the LGBTI Intergroup, we believe and will continue to push for the EU to finally close the gap in protection and guarantee full equality for all citizens, in line with EU values. We will also continue to advocate for the EU to adopt common rules on hate speech (including LGBTI phobic hate speech).

Therefore, we call on:

  • Polish authorities to protect the human rights of all its citizens, including LGBTI people, especially freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to be free from violence and discrimination. This includes prosecuting authors of LGBTI phobic violence and hate speech, and providing appropriate compensation to their victims. We also count on Polish authorities to provide full protection to upcoming Prides in Poland, and to the “march against violence” this coming Sunday in Bialystok, so they can take place in a safe and peaceful manner.
  • The European Commission to push forward the long awaited Equality Directive, so all EU citizens can be granted the highest level of protection against discrimination, to facilitate the adoption of common rules on hate speech and to adopt an LGBTI strategy as soon as possible.

Sophie in’t Veld MEP, Vice-President LGBTI Intergroup

Malin Bjork MEP, Vice-President LGBTI Intergroup

Tanja Fajon, Vice-President LGBTI Intergroup

Robert Biedron député européen

Sylwia Spurek député européen

Giuliano Pisapia député européen

Hilde Vautmans député européen

Fredrick Federley député européen

Birgit Sippel député européen

Giuseppina Picierno député européen

Josianne Cutajar député européen

Manuel Bompard député européen

Monika Vana député européen

Anne-Sophie Pelletier député européen

Younous Omarjee député européen

Jackie Jones député européen

Brando Benifei député européen

Maria Arena député européen

Karen Melchior député européen

Mónica Silvana González député européen

Theresa Griffin député européen

Agnes Jongerius député européen

Alex Agius Saliba député européen

Petra de Sutter député européen

Abir Al-Sahlani député européen

Evin Incir député européen

Claude Moraes député européen

Heidi Hautala député européen

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica député européen

Jude Kirton-Darling député européen

Julie Ward député européen

Jill Evans député européen

Rosa d’Amato député européen

Kati Piri député européen

Iratxe Garcia Pérez député européen

Martin Hojsik député européen

Rasmus Andresen député européen

Rory Palmer député européen