Edinburgh's Lord Provost writes to Mayor of Krakow seeking clarification on LGBT+ rights

The two cities are tied by a civic partnership agreement dating back to 1994.

Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross
Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross

THE Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, has written to the Mayor of Krakow asking him to clarify the Polish city’s opposition to homophobia and LGBT+ oppression.

Last year Edinburgh City Council renewed its “partnership agreement” with Krakow, an arrangement dating back to 1994 in which the two cities cooperate in areas including culture, monument protection and education.

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However, recent surges in Polish government hostility towards LGBT+ people has caused council Depute Leader Cammy Day to call for a “serious rethink” about civic ties between the two cities.

Around 100 municipalities in Poland, including that which covers Krakow, have declared themselves to be “LGBT ideology-free zones”.

Also, the recently re-elected Polish President Andrzej Duda has compared being part of the LGBT+ community to being a communist and during his re-election campaign vowed to “defend children from LGBT ideology”.

Krakow’s mayor, Jacek Majchrowski, has publicly denounced homophobia and in July this year posted a letter to citizens on social media, saying: “Dear LGBT people, you are not alone.

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“We are with you, we support you and we will do everything to make you feel at home in Krakow – because here is your home.”

Nonetheless, the Lord Provost has written to Mr Majchrowski seeking clarification that Krakow stands with its LGBT+ citizens.

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Cllr Day has also submitted a council motion calling for a report to be produced outlining any additional support Edinburgh may offer to “assist and support Krakow” resist homophobic policies.

The motion also requests a review of the council’s international strategy, including information on how civic partnerships can support the city’s views and values around equality.

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Edinburgh is currently partnered with more than ten cities worldwide including Florence, Kiev, Nice, Munich and Xi’an and Shenzhen in China.

The scope of Edinburgh’s various partnerships differs but often includes mutual cooperation in areas such as education, monument protection, the economy and culture.

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The Lord Provost has been contacted for comment regarding whether he intends to also write to officials in Xi’an and Shenzhen about the various human rights abuses taking place in China.

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director