Thursday, June 21, 2007

Polish homosexuals flee persecution in exodus to UK

Polish gay rights groups say thousands of homosexuals have fled the country to the UK to escape increasing persecution.

Robert Biedron, a left wing party activist and head of the Polish Foundation Against Homophobia, said "huge numbers" of Polish gays had now fled the country following the rise to power of the current right-wing conservative government.

He said: "It is incredible. The Polish gay community has just moved away because of the climate of fear and persecution.

"Most of the people I know are now in England because of the current political situation. Not for economic reasons, but because of the persecution of homosexuals going on here.

"It’s impossible for gays to be themselves in Poland. Around two million Poles have left the country seeking work and thousands of gays are joining them.

"Many gays are approaching our foundation for help in emigrating to the UK."

Poland’s Catholic, conservative right-wing government has members who are openly anti-gay and the health ministry has created a special committee responsible for "curing" gays, according to local media.

Deputy health minister Marek Grafowski said the ministry was also planning to identify how many people in Poland were gay and work out a set of behavioural guides to assist parents and teachers in recognising warning signs of potential "gay" behaviour.

The police have also been compiling a database on gays and the gay community in Poland which although illegal under EU law, is apparently being done as part of a police investigation into a bomb threat two years ago by a gay man.

He had reportedly identified himself as a meber of the gay community angry when a gay rights march was banned in Warsaw.

"The Police are not allowed to catalogue ‘homosexual data’ but it’s enough to look into the police investigation associated with the bomb in order to establish a list of names and addresses," said Ewa Kulesza, a former personal data protection general inspector.