Ambassadors from nearly 50 countries accredited to Poland urged respect for the rights of its LGBT community in an open letter released on Sunday.
Gay rights have become a flashpoint issue in Poland in recent years under the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which campaigns against what it calls “LGBT ideology”, likening the promotion of gay rights to a form of communism.
“We express our support for the efforts to raise public awareness of issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community and other communities in Poland facing similar challenges,” said the letter signed by diplomats from a majority of Poland’s EU partners, the United States and Canada as well as Israel, India and Japan, among others.
“To shield communities in need of protection from verbal and physical abuse and hate speech, we need to jointly work on an environment of non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual acceptance,” they added in the letter tweeted by US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher, among others.
Local authorities in several Polish regions loyal to the PiS have declared themselves “LGBT-free zones” in a protest against support for gay rights from Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski — a leading member of the Civic Platform opposition party.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital over the summer to protest against the detention of gay rights activists.
One was held for two months in pre-trial detention for allegedly vandalising a truck carrying homophobic slogans before later being released.
Others were charged for desecrating monuments and hurting religious feelings after prominent Warsaw statues including one of Jesus Christ were draped in LGBT flags.