Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined 35 other countries in Hungary LGBTQI+ statement

Baltic States have joined 35 other countries in a statement of support coinciding with the 28th Budapest Pride Festival in Hungary.

Issued by the U.S. Embassy in Hungary, the statement is in effect a call for Budapest to rescind legislative amendments which are seen as discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons in that country.

The Estonian Institute (Eesti Instituut) in Budapest has also signed the appeal.

“We reject and condemn all acts of violence, hate speech, harassment, stigmatization and discrimination committed against individuals and communities on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics and support the fight against such acts,” the statement reads.”

“In this regard, we are concerned with legislation and political rhetoric, including in Hungary, that is in tension with principles of non-discrimination, international human rights law and human dignity, and contributes to stigmatization of the LGBTQI+ community.  We stress the need for leaders and governments, here and elsewhere, to show respect for and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals and communities, and to eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against them.”

“We stress the inviolability of human dignity, the right to freedom of expression and information, the right to private and family life, and the right to non-discrimination for all,” the statement adds, expressing expressing full support for members of the LGBTQI+ and their right to equality and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, freedom from violence, and respect for the rule of law and democratic universal human rights.

The statement also welcomes the advocacy work done to that end by activists, the media, civil organizations and others, highlighting the role of Budapest Pride here.

The statement is signed by the representatives of: the U.S., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The U.K., Ukraine, Uruguay, the General Delegation of Flanders, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest, the British Council, the Czech Center, Estonian Institute, FinnAgora, the Goethe-Institut, l’Institut Français, Instituto Camões and Instituto Cervantes.

In recent years, Hungarian authorities have adopted a number of laws that, according to critics and human rights activists, limit the rights of sexual minorities and put in place other repressive policies.

In 2021, the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary on the basis of its can be considered discriminatory on the basis of people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and which goes against the principles of the EU and the rules of the common market.

The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which monitors the state of democracy in countries, has also found that the Hungarian law, which bars discussions of homosexuality and transgenderism in schools, violates international human rights principles.

The European Commission has so far prosecuted its case against the Hungarian government at the European Court of Justice.