For fifteen years attempts to conduct a peaceful pride parade in Budapest, Hungary have resulted in violence and arrests of right-wing groups who are fiercely homophobic.
Next up is the 2009 parade on September 5 when both sides of the battle will gear up for another confrontation. Since 1995 LGBT citizens have mounted festivals escorted by police troops. (A history of Budapest Pride can be read in the news reports on GlobalGayz.)
To support this year’s Pride event, Whoopi Goldberg has recorded a short human rights video (click here) urging tolerance and open-mindedness toward LGBT people in Hungary. We hope some small measure of improvement may result from her words.
In addition to Whoopi’s video, thirteen foreign embassies in Budapest have issued a joint statement to the government of Hungary urging tolerance and acceptance of sexual minorities in that country as an important part of respecting human rights:
Joint statement from 13 Embassies in Budapest:
“On the occasion of the 2009 Budapest Pride Festival, we express our support for, and solidarity with, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Hungary. We support the right of these communities to use this traditional occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to express their desire to end the silence surrounding the specific issues that affect them.
“Human rights – including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression – and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built. Indeed, international human rights law is grounded on the premise that all individuals are entitled to the same rights and freedoms, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“It is this respect for fundamental human values that obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and to ensure that all people enjoy equal opportunities.
“Today, many individuals face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties.
Our governments` policies in this area are in accordance with the principles set out in the Joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity delivered at the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December, 2008.”