Rainbow flag to fly over second British embassy

Tony Grew June 6, 2008
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Warsaw holds its Pride parade tomorrow, and in a mark of solidarity the Rainbow flag will fly next to the Union flag over the British embassy in the city.

The parade, the end of a week of events called Equality Days, will pass by the embassy.

The Rainbow flag will fly over the embassy building from this afternoon to Monday morning.

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Poland, Ric Todd, will raise the flag over the British Embassy building on Aleje Ujazdowskie at four this afternoon.

Last week the Rainbow flag flew over the British embassy in Riga to mark that city’s Pride event.

“The UK remains committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas,” said Mr Todd.

“This small gesture is a symbol of the British embassy’s commitment to equality and acceptance for all.

“This weekend’s Pride March will be a celebration of diversity in Poland, Europe and beyond. I particularly hope participants travelling from the UK will enjoy the festivities.”

It is common for the Rainbow flag to fly from municipal buildings to mark Pride or other events such as the annual International Day Against Homophobia, but it is thought that last week marked the first time a British embassy has displayed it.

In May the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed its commitment to engage with foreign governments about the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.

It issued an ‘LGBT Toolkit’ to its 261 embassies, high commissions and other diplomatic posts.

The kit contains information on the official British policy on gay rights and instructions in how to “provide added value to equality and non-discrimination work.”

It covers a wide range of issues, from decriminalisation, sexual health, reproductive rights and health education to bilateral work with other countries.

The document states that LGBT activists are often targets for persecution and that the FCO should ensure these people are “included among human rights defenders concerning whom the UK will lobby and will engage the support of other governments, especially EU members.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told

“The UK remains committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas.

“Last December the FCO adopted a programme of action for promoting the human rights of LGBT people abroad.

“This made clear that sexual orientation cannot be a qualifying factor in the application of human rights.

“We have now worked with partners to develop a programme to guide our embassies overseas.

“This programme has now been sent to all our diplomatic posts worldwide.

“We will continue to engage with our posts to promote the rights LGBT people across the world.”

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