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EU Parliament slams "LGBTI-free" zones in Poland

December 18, 2019

Some 80 local governments in Poland have issued resolutions creating zones forbidding tolerance of sexual minorities. The European Parliament also accused municipalities of withholding funds for rights organizations.

A man walks in the gay pride parade in Warsaw
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Keplicz

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning so-called "LGBTI-free" zones in Poland.

Most of these zones — where local authorities pledge to refrain from acts that encourage tolerance — were decreed in non-binding directives from local governments.

Municipalities must also avoid providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.

"The European Parliament urges Polish authorities to condemn these acts and to revoke all resolutions attacking LGBTI rights," the legislature said in a statement.

Read more: Homophobia in Poland still deeply entrenched

Poland's Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar has received several complaints against these municipal zones, which total at least 80 in towns across Poland.

The European Parliament resolution also notes its concern for the discrimination LGBTI people face at the hands of national governments of member states.

EU funds "must not be used for discriminatory purposes," their statement noted.

Although discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal in Poland, homophobia and transphobia is considered widespread in the country. Neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions are allowed in Poland. This year at the Pride march in the city of Bialystok, thugs ran through the crowd assaulting people and setting off smoke bombs

As recently as October, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's conservative Law and Justice party, said: "We consider two communities fundamental  the family as one man, one woman and the children."

es/rc (dpa, AFP)