Parliamentary Assembly holds conference on freedom of expression for LGBT people in Polish Parliament
On 19th of March the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held its first ever conference on LGBT related issues, focusing mainly on freedom of expression. The conference took place in Warsaw, at Poland’s Parliament. Keynote speakers included the Vice-Speaker of the Polish Parliament, the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment of Poland, the Swedish Minister for European Affairs, the former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Sir Nicholas Bratza, East Europe’s first openly gay MP, Robert Biedron from Poland, and Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director ILGA-Europe.
The main themes addressed in plenary sessions were freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and tackling homophobic speech and violence. During lunch participants broke up into smaller groups to address a further wide range of issues.
Participants included delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly, MEPs, Polish MPs, and LGBT activists from a number of countries particularly affected by the issues raised in the conference.
A major purpose of the conference was to gather evidence for a report being prepared on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee by the General Rapporteur on LGBT issues, Norwegian Member of Parliament, Håkon Haugli. It is anticipated that his report will be debated by the Assembly in late September. He presented his interim findings, a copy of which can be found here.