Protect Poland's LGBT+ community, urge top diplomats

Ambassadors to Poland from some 50 countries and international organizations worldwide called on Poland to support its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, in an open letter published late on Sunday.

The appeal comes as the LGBT+ community in the country faces increasing threats from the right-wing government, local communities and the Catholic church.

Lawmakers and President Andrzej Duda have openly criticized LGBT+ communities and accused them of threatening traditional families.

Read more: Poland: Police arrest 48 pro-LGBT protesters

"Human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment,'' the ambassadors wrote.

"Respect for these fundamental rights... obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities."

The ambassadors also paid tribute to the awareness-raising work of the LGBT+ community in Poland.

The signatories include top diplomats from many European Union countries, including Germany, as well as those from further afield, such as Japan and Australia.

Georgette Mosbacher, the United States ambassador to Poland, posted the open letter on her Twitter feed.

Representatives for the United Nations and the EU itself also signed the letter.

Read more: How the EU can stop Poland's 'LGBT-free zones'

Poland hits back

Poland's deputy foreign minister, Pawel Jablonski, replied to the open letter in a tweet, saying the Polish government fully agrees with its message and that "every human being enjoys an equal level of protection under Polish law."

He added a "reminder" that "according to the Polish Constitution, marriage is a union of a woman and a man.''

Jablonski said that LGBT-free zones — referring to the dozens of towns that have passed resolutions declaring their communities to be LGBT+ free — were "fake news" and did not exist.

Read more: When the ID shows a different picture than reality: Being transgender in Romania

kmm/dr (AP, dpa)