European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Europe needs to react immediately on discrimination and homophobia in Poland

On 19 November 2005, another peaceful demonstration in support of equality and tolerance was banned in a Polish city of Poznan. The march was organised by a number of Polish women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organisations.

Despite the ban the march went ahead but was blocked by the police, the participants were arrested and interrogated. ILGA-Europe is deeply disappointed and concerned about the level of continuing and blatant discrimination by the Polish authorities. ILGA-Europe calls upon European organisations and the European states to immediately denounce such intolerable actions by the Polish authorities.

By joining the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE), Poland agreed on the principles of non-discrimination, equality and freedom of peaceful assembly.

ILGA-Europe calls upon European organisations and the members of the EU, CoE and OSCE to voice their protest and take immediate actions to urge Poland to comply with its international obligations.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said:

“We are deeply concerned with the development is Poland for the last few months. Such discriminatory acts by the Polish authorities as banning peaceful demonstrations in Warsaw earlier this year and in Poznan last weekend, closing down the Poland’s equality body are sending very worrying messages that Poland completely disregards its obligations it agreed to implement by joining various European organisations.

It is time for the European organisations and states to send their firm message to the Polish authorities

For more information please contact

Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights and equality at European level.

(2) Article 12 the Charter on the Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantees everyone the freedom of peaceful assembly and Article 21 provides that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation will be prohibited. The 2000 EU Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC specifically requires EU’s member states to ban sexual orientation discrimination in employment.

(3) Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees everyone the right to peaceful assembly and the European Court of Human Rights on many occasions declared that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is in breach of the Convention’s provisions.

(4) Article 9.2 of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe provides guarantees everyone the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration.