The new Polish government should maintain its post-campaign promise to have Poland become a full party to the Charter of Fundamental Rights alongside other EU member states, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has said.
“I hope the new government will do everything in its power to convince the Polish parliament to reverse the opt-out of the Charter,” said Sophie in `t Veld (the Netherlands), a vice president of the Intergroup.
“Polish people care deeply about fundamental rights, as they have shown by handing a resounding defeat to the homophobic Kaczynski government. “Now they should claim their rights as a binding legal instrument,” she said.
The Intergroup says that it is worried by reports that the new Polish Government of Donald Tusk may be having second thoughts on the matter of the Charter. Poland’s previous government, which was voted out of office in October, was repeatedly slammed by numerous human rights groups for its homophobic stance.
“I encourage the government to keep on repairing the damage at the European level made by extremist political forces,” said Michael Cashman (UK), the Intergroup’s president. “A commitment to fundamental rights is not one that should be taken lightly – I hope that the Government will give every impulse to create both the right political and legal environment to tackle discrimination not just in Poland but also throughout Europe.”
Raul Romeva (Spain), another vice president, pointed out that membership of the European Union was not just a question of money: “It’s also about rights – of rights for all Europeans, and that includes Poles.”
“Ratifying the Charter would signal Poland’s readiness to take its place as one of the leaders of Europe. It is only right that Central and Eastern European States become shining beacons of hope and democracy to the rest of the world. Adopting the Charter would send all the right signals, not adopting it would be a disappointing reversal of fortune for the citizens of Poland,” he added.
Speaking earlier this week, Tomasz Szypula, secretary general of Campaign Against Homophobia in Warsaw expressed bitter disappointment that the coalition of the Civic Platform (PO) and Polish Peasants Party (PSL) was intending to formally reject the Charter next month.
“Our new government has shown its conservative face,” he said. “In Poland there’s no anti-hate speech, anti-hate crime or anti-discriminatory laws which mention sexual orientation.”
The Charter of Fundamental Rights will give gay men and women and transgender people throughout the European Union a greater degree of equality.
Member states of the European Union are scheduled to sign the Charter on December 13 in Lisbon.