Rainbow flag flies over British embassy in Riga

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

Yesterday afternoon the Union flag was replaced with the international symbol of the LGBT community at the British embassy in the Latvian capital.

The ambassador, Richard Moon, took part in a flag-raising ceremony with embassy staff and gay rights advocates from the UK and Latvia looking on. He then presided over afternoon tea.

The ambassador restated the government’s commitment to LGBT rights across the world.

It is thought that the Rainbow flag flown from the Embassy yesterday to mark the end of the Riga Pride may be taken to Warsaw Pride this weekend.

Last week Mr Moon joined the Dutch, Swedish and Danish ambassadors at a Pride reception, which took place on Saturday without the violent confrontations that had been predicted.

It is common for the Rainbow flag to fly from municipal buildings to mark Pride or other events such as the annual International Day Against Homophobia, but it is thought this is the first time a British embassy has displayed it.

Last month the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed its commitment to engage with foreign governments about the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.

It issued an ‘LGBT Toolkit’ to its 261 embassies, high commissions and other diplomatic posts.

The kit contains information on the official British policy on gay rights and instructions in how to “provide added value to equality and non-discrimination work.”

It covers a wide range of issues, from decriminalisation, sexual health, reproductive rights and health education to bilateral work with other countries.

The document states that LGBT activists are often targets for persecution and that the FCO should ensure these people are “included among human rights defenders concerning whom the UK will lobby and will engage the support of other governments, especially EU members.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told PinkNews.co.uk:

“The UK remains committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas.

“Last December the FCO adopted a programme of action for promoting the human rights of LGBT people abroad.

“This made clear that sexual orientation cannot be a qualifying factor in the application of human rights.

“We have now worked with partners to develop a programme to guide our embassies overseas.
“This programme has now been sent to all our diplomatic posts worldwide.

“We will continue to engage with our posts to promote the rights LGBT people across the world.”