Poland: UK Ambassador's support for gay rights applauded

Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and TUC write to David Miliband commending ambassador’s work

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the TUC have welcomed the British Ambassador to Poland Ric Todd’s recent work in promoting gay rights in his posting country.

The three organisations have today written to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband applauding Mr Todd’s work as an example of how British ambassadorial work in this area “sets a standard which other countries … should follow”.

Recently Mr Todd made a Polish language version of the UK Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people and their rights available to Polish gay rights groups leaders advance of Polish Pride, held in Warsaw on Saturday (13 June). The Foreign Office makes the guide available to diplomats who want clear information about the human rights of LGBTI people, no matter what country they are working in.

In Poland Mr Todd has been criticised for behaving in an “undiplomatic” fashion and going beyond the role of ambassador in distributing the document. He has previously been attacked for showing his support for gay rights in Poland. Last year he flew a Rainbow flag in front of the British embassy in Warsaw on the day of the Polish Gay Pride march.

In its letter to David Miliband Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“We cannot be complacent about LGBT rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

“This year we have seen attempts to ban Baltic Pride in Riga, the banning of Slavic Pride and violence when that march went ahead, and the banning of LGBT people holding public events as part of a ‘Rainbow Spring 2009’ in Ukraine.

“Additionally, the Lithuanian authorities are currently attempting to introduce legislation which would ban the discussion of homosexuality in schools.”

The letter to Mr Miliband concluded:

“We would like to encourage more UK Ambassadors to follow Mr Todd’s lead and to proactively promote LGBT rights in their countries and hope that you will continue to support and encourage such actions.”

The full text of the letter is available from the Amnesty International UK press office.

ENDS

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