Vans inciting hate speech against LGBTI persons in Poland

14.10.2020

Parliamentary question

Authors: Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE), Marc Angel (S&D), Maria Walsh (PPE), Malin Björk (GUE/NGL), Fabio Massimo (NI), Michal Šimečka (Renew), Manuel Bompard (GUE/NGL), Monika Vana (Verts/ALE), Kim Van Sparrentak (Verts/ALE), Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL), Brando Benifei (S&D), Sandro Gozi (Renew), Mario Furore (NI), Esther de Lange (PPE), Frédérique Ries (Renew), Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE), Olivier Chastel (Renew), Dietmar Köster (S&D), Radka Maxová (Renew), Karen Melchior (Renew), Frances Fitzgerald (PPE), Gabriele Bischoff (S&D), Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D), Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Verts/ALE), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew), Hannah Neumann (Verts/ALE), Sylwia Spurek (Verts/ALE), Pernando Barrena (GUE/NGL), Robert Biedroń (S&D), Milan Brglez (S&D), Andreas Schieder (S&D), Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew), Fredrick Federley (Renew), Evin Incir (S&D), Alicia Homs  (S&D), Pina Picierno (S&D), Liesje Schreinemacher (Renew), Sándor Rónai (S&D), Magdalena Adamowicz (PPE), Irène Tolleret (Renew), Aurore Lalucq (S&D), Rasmus Andresen (Verts/ALE)

A worrying number of vans (from organisatins such as Fundacja Pro – Prawo do życia) regularly incite hateful language against LGBTI persons in Poland by driving around cities promoting the narrative of an ‘LGBTI ideology’ and associating LGBTI persons with paedophiles. They use loudspeakers to broadcast slogans such as ‘LGBTI people rape children’ and have, on occasion, reportedly been escorted by police vehicles. Occasionally, citizens have intervened to stop these vans themselves, as the police take no action to prevent this hate speech.

This anti-LGBTI rhetoric echoes language used by government officials to incite hatred against LGBTI persons.

1. Is the Commission aware of these events, and what actions has it taken to address them with the Polish authorities so as to ensure that hate speech, including by private organisations, is prevented and/or sanctioned?

2. Does the Commission consider that this intentional lack of action by the authorities regarding the diffusion of homophobic or transphobic hate speech violates Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA?

3. What concrete actions is the Commission taking to sanction incitement to hatred against LGBTI persons and to ensure that fundamental rights are respected in Poland, in accordance with Article 2 of the TEU?


Answer by the European Commission

Author: Hellena Dalli, Commissioner on Equality.

The Commission condemns all forms of homophobia and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people as they go against the fundamental values of the EU.

The framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia obliges Member States to criminalise certain types of hate speech and hate crime, but it does not include hate speech and hatred crimes based on sexual orientation. It is the responsibility of national law enforcement and judicial authorities to assess whether a particular expression or statement constitutes a criminal offence under the relevant provisions of national law, and to investigate and prosecute any such instance.

To step up the fight against discrimination of LGBTIQ people, the Commission adopted on 12 November 2020 its first-ever LGBTIQ Equality Strategy with the aim of mainstreaming specific LGBTIQ concerns into all EU policies, legislation and funding programmes. The strategy also proposes to extend the list of EU crimes to cover other forms of hate crime and hate speech, including homophobic hate speech and hate crime. The Commission intends to present an initiative by the end of 2021.

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