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The Polish authorities must take action to eliminate hate speech by politicians and other public figures and ensure the rights to freedom of assembly and expression for LGBTI members of society

Written declaration No. 694 | Doc. 14982 | 03 October 2019

Ms Violeta TOMIĆ, Slovenia, UEL ; Ms Thorhildur Sunna ÆVARSDÓTTIR, Iceland, SOC ; Ms Ann-Britt ÅSEBOL, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Petra BAYR, Austria, SOC ; Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Goran BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Croatia, ALDE ; Ms Margreet De BOER, Netherlands, SOC ; Mr Michel BRANDT, Germany, UEL ; Ms Béatrice FRESKO-ROLFO, Monaco, ALDE ; Ms Ruth GOÑI, Spain, ALDE ; Ms Zita GURMAI, Hungary, SOC ; Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Mr Momodou Malcolm JALLOW, Sweden, UEL ; Mr František KOPŘIVA, Czech Republic, ALDE ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Christophe LACROIX, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Eva LÓPEZ, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Petra STIENEN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Mr Manuel TORNARE, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Feleknas UCA, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Mustafa YENEROĞLU, Turkey, NR

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

The years 2018 and 2019 have seen a significant spike in anti-LGBTI rhetoric in Poland, with incidents of hate speech from Polish politicians and other public figures, and over 30 city and regional governments in Poland declaring their localities “LGBT-free zones”. Some localities banned Pride activities, such as in Rzeszów in June 2019, or failed to adequately protect Pride participants from violence during marches, as in Białystok in July 2019. Last Saturday, Lublin Pride came under violent attack, having only days before won a legal challenge against a Pride ban imposed by the city’s Mayor.

There is a clear correlation between the increase in political rhetoric dehumanising and promoting hatred of LGBTI people, and incidents of hate crime and hate-motivated violence both physically and online. The language used by politicians and public leaders sets the tone for tolerance and acceptance, or for division and hatred. Furthermore, declaring a location “LGBT-free” does not remove LGBT individuals, but instead forces them to live in secrecy and fear – there is no justification for a government to perpetrate a climate of fear and persecution; it is their responsibility to protect and support the human rights of their citizens and everyone within their borders.