Oppose Poland’s version of Section 28.
Solidarity with Polish LGBTIs. Protest to the Polish Ambassador.
London – UK – 17 May 2007
Fifty people picketed the Polish Embassy in London today 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 ( [email protected] )” 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:
In the attached photo, these speakers are, left to right: 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.
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.
The Polish Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
47 Portland Place
London W1B 1JH
Tel : 0870 774 2700
Fax : 0207 291 35 75 and 0207 291 35 76
E-mail: [email protected]
Notes to Editors –
1. BYC is the national youth council and voice for young people under 26 living in the UK. We represent and involve a unique coalition of young people through their involvement as individuals or through national, regional or local youth organisations.
2. BYC’s coalition includes over 170 national youth organisations such as Girlguiding UK, campaigning organisations such as the National Union of Students (NUS) and youth wings of trade unions, political parties, faith and arts organisations. Also within our membership and network are 400 local youth councils and organisations representing specific groups such as lesbian, gay and bisexual and black and minority ethnic young people.
3. BYC works to ensure that young people are involved at every level of decision-making to allow them to be represented and to make their voices heard.
4. We aim to do four things: Provide a voice for young people; Promote equality for young people; Help young people be more involved in decisions that affect their lives; Advance young people’s participation in society and civil life.
5. 17th May is the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) which takes place in more than 50 countries.
6. IDAHO exits to articulate action and reflection in order to combat all physical, moral or symbolic violence related to sexual orientation or gender identity.