EUROPEAN HUMANISTS IN SOLIDARITY WITH LGBT+ COMMUNITY IN POLAND
13 August 2020
left: collage on police violence in the demonstration in
Warsaw on 7 August 2020 (Polish Humanist Association)
The European Humanist Federation (EHF) supports the 8 August appeal of scores of Polish civil society organizations and expresses its solidarity with the victims of extensive police violence and procedural police abuses during and after the demonstration of 7 August in Warsaw by activists and supporters of the LGBT+ community. EHF supports these protests against the actions of the state authorities, namely many months of state propaganda against the LGBT+ community that culminated with the arrest and pre-trial detention for two months of Margot, an LGBT+ activist from the Stop Bzdurom (“Stop the Nonsense”) collective.
EHF welcomes the widespread international condemnation of these developments by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, the Council of Europe Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit, and several international human rights NGOs (e.g. Human Rights Watch, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – ILGA) as well as the related statement by the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights in which he also announced the launching of an ex officio investigation.
EHF recalls also that in recent weeks the Polish government announced its intention to withdraw the country from the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women, because it “makes a number of extreme leftist assumptions.” Moreover, in March 2020, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers noted again that Poland has yet to comply with an ECtHR judgment on access to abortion issued in 2012 and warned the state that an interim resolution will be adopted in March 2021 in the absence of substantial progress in the adoption of general measures in this case. Finally, the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), in January 2020, opened full monitoring proceedings of Poland, the only EU member state subjected to such procedure.
EHF therefore urges the EU Council to take forward the Article 7 procedures which provide for sanctioning member states that breach core EU values, scrutinizing Poland, and of course Hungary, the two EU countries with the greatest decline in human rights protection since 1989. EHF finally agrees with several international human rights NGOs (like Human Rights Watch and a coalition of six major INGOs) that the EU Council should moreover widen the scope of these procedures to include assessments of clear risks of serious breaches of democracy and fundamental rights.