EUROPEAN HUMANISTS IN SOLIDARITY WITH LGBT+ COMMUNITY IN POLAND
16 August 2020
The European Humanist Federation (EHF) condemns recent police brutality and abuses towards the LGBT+ activists who were arrested on 7 August in Warsaw. It also expresses its solidarity with the Polish LGBT+ community and its supporters. EHF calls for appropriate and sufficient measures taken by the EU to safeguard the rule of law and to uphold basic European values and appreciates the ongoing process under Art. 7 against Poland.
“When you hear about Human Rights violations in Poland, barely three decades after the Solidarity movement won freedom and democracy for us, you ask yourself what exactly went wrong here.” says Kaja Bryx, Vice-President of EHF and President of the Polish Rationalist Association. “We call upon the Chief of Police in Poland, gen. insp. dr Jarosław Szymczyk, to launch an internal investigation in regards to the procedural abuses and reported Human Rights violations at Warsaw police stations on 7 and 8 August and take appropriate action against the responsible police officers without delay. We also call upon the members of the Law and Justice party who fought for a free and democratic Poland over 30 years ago, to remember who they were and what they fought for, to honour this legacy and defend the same values again, before it’s too late.”
EHF observes with great concern how the situation in Poland in relation to the rule of law and the fundamental rights has gradually deteriorated in the last few years. The European Commission decided to trigger Article 7 against Poland already in 2017 for passing reforms that undermine the independence of the judiciary. In January 2020, the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), opened full monitoring proceedings of Poland, the only EU member state subjected to such procedure. 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.
EHF notes that Poland also is one of the few European countries which still uphold a blasphemy law. Polish public media not only serve as a propaganda tube for the government, but also discriminate the LGBT+ community, bound by the 1992 regulation to “respect the Christian value system”. The Catholic Church in Poland doesn’t follow the progressive teachings of pope Francis, but continues the work of John Paul II who called the non-believers “a civilisation of death” and was responsible for covering up numerous paedophilia scandals involving the Catholic Church. “The Christian values” which are conveyed at Catholic religion classes in all public schools in Poland include, among others, condemning of homosexuality and denying women’s reproductive rights.
In the recent months, a number of local authorities in Poland have declared their municipalities “free from LGBT ideology”, declaring this way that sexual education lessons cannot be conducted in public schools and discriminating NGOs campaigning for LGBT+ rights. This has resulted in Poland being ranked this year as the worst country in the European Union for LGBT+ people. Moreover, this summer, 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.”