Council of Europe Tells Poland: ‘LGBTI Are People, Not an Ideology’

A leading European human rights organization called out the Polish government Thursday with a memorandum condemning the Eastern European country’s treatment and stigmatization of its LGBTI citizens.In a report, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s commissioner of human rights, criticized Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party for eroding conditions and treatment of LGBTI people. Mijatovic explicitly addressed President Andrzej Duda for what the report called his endorsement of hate, after Duda called the LGBTI movement an “ideology worse than communism.”FILE – Surrounded by migrants, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, addresses reporters at the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Dec. 3, 2019.”Stigmatization and hate speech carry a real risk of legitimizing violence,” Mijatovic said in the report. “LGBTI are people, not an ideology.”The commissioner cited instances wherein propaganda, hateful rhetoric and social exclusion has been encouraged by Polish authorities, citing the declaration of “LGBTI-free zones” by local authorities in six Polish cities as promoting hate and perpetuating the stigmatization of the community.Reuters reported Thursday that the Polish government released a statement rejecting Mijatovic’s criticisms, saying the institution of marriage as a union between men and women is manifest in the Polish constitution. Previously, Law and Justice party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski called LGBTI people a “threat to the traditional family.”Mijatovic called for the rejection of Polish laws pending before parliament that she said target LGBTI people.“Public authorities, politicians and opinion leaders in Poland [should] not to engage in hate speech or any discourse denigrating LGBTI people, and … firmly denounce such actions and statements, including when they come from private parties,” she said.The Council of Europe is an international organization founded after World War II to uphold human rights.

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