MEPs call on Poland to approve human rights charter

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The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has urged the Polish government to maintain its post-campaign promise to have the country become a full party to the Charter of Fundamental Rights alongside other EU member states.

In an address to the Polish parliament last week new Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he will honour the commitment of the previous government and join the UK as the only nations in the 27-member EU to opt out.

The charter will become legally binding on EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice as part of the new Reform Treaty agreed by the EU heads of government in Lisbon last month.

It will be signed in the city on 13th December.

“I hope the new government will do everything in its power to convince the Polish parliament to reverse the opt-out of the Charter,” said Sophie in ‘t Veld, Vice-President of the Intergroup.

“Polish people care deeply about fundamental rights, as they have shown by handing a resounding defeat to the homophobic Kaczynski government. Now they should claim their rights as a binding legal instrument.”

Former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the Law and Justice party had claimed that Poland was “culturally different” from their EU partners, especially when it came to the rights of LGBT people and the use of the death penalty, and refused to sign up.

In a TV debate during the campaign Mr Tusk pledged to make Poland a party to the EU Charter.

The treaty needs a two-thirds majority vote in the Polish parliament to become law, which requires the Law and Justice party to support it.

For this reason the government decided to retain the opt-out.