Democracy & Justice

Latest Attack on Polish LGBT Group Highlights Government's Inaction

The June attack against the Stonewall Group is the latest in a string of assaults on civil society organizations working to promote LGBT rights. It's time for the government to step up and protect these groups from future violence.

by Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
(Image: Ted Eytan)
The Poznań-based charity Stonewall Group was attacked by unknown perpetrators who vandalized the office and stole two flags from the windows.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has asked the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań in writing to supervise the proceedings in this case. The Foundation also contacted the government’s Plenipotentiary for the Civil Society and Equal Treatment, emphasizing that the government should act in order to prevent further attacks against NGOs.

Attacks targeting NGOs

The head office of the LGBT charity Stonewall Group was burglarized in mid-June. The office was vandalized, but the only items that were reported stolen were the two rainbow flags displayed in windows of the premises.

The perpetrators ransacked the Stonewall Group's office in Poznań, stealing two rainbow flags that hung in the windows. (Image: Grupa Stonewall/Facebook)

The group's activists say this was a homophobic incident. Earlier, similar attacks targeted other organizations, including the Campaign Against Homophobia group and the Warsaw branch of the Lambda Association. Windows were broken at the offices of these NGOs and offensive messages were painted on the doors.

"As the European Court of Human Rights points out in its case law, discrimination based sexual orientation is as worrying as that based on a race, ethnic origin or skin color. That is why public authorities should respond with the same urgency to cases of hate crime motivated by homophobic factors," reads the HFHR’s letter to the regional prosecutor in Poznań.

Will the government do anything?

The HFHR has expressed its concern over the repeating attacks against civil society groups, which, as circumstances suggest, are fueled by bias and intolerance.

In the letter addressed to the Plenipotentiary for the Civil Society and Equal Treatment, the HFHR directly asked what the government's plans are to prevent further attacks against non-governmental organizations.