Dirco silent on homophobia row as SA embassy refuses to affirm gay rights in Poland

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05/31/2021

For the past eight years, South African diplomats in Poland have signed an annual letter alongside other embassies affirming gay rights in one of the most homophobic nations in Europe. This year, the South African embassy in Warsaw declined to do so — with no explanation. An open letter of support for the LGBTQI community in Poland has been signed by around 50 embassies since 2012 — and is treated as an important message of solidarity by the besieged gay community in a country where homophobia is often a fact of life. This year’s message was published, as was customary, on May 17: the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Forty-eight embassies put their signature to it, including those of Argentina, Chile, Israel, Serbia, New Zealand and Venezuela. Absent: South Africa. The year 2021 will mark the first occasion on which the South African embassy has declined to sign the letter — and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is refusing to comment on the matter.

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