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British ambassador to Poland criticised for ‘pushing’ gay rights

Jessica Geen June 11, 2009
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The British ambassador to Poland has been told by the country’s civil rights ombudsman he is “exceeding his authority” by promoting a gay Pride march due to take place in Warsaw this weekend.

Ric Todd has also been accused by Catholic groups of “representing the ‘homosexual lobby”.

Earlier this week, he gave Polish gay rights leaders a UK Guide To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People And Their Rights, translated into Polish.

Janusz Kochanowski, the Polish civil rights ombudsman, told the Daily Mail: “Ambassador Todd has exceeded his authority. He is being improper and doesn’t understand the role of a diplomat. He represents the UK, he is not meant to intervene here in the way that he chooses.”

He added that Polish gays do not live in fear of persecution.

Slawomir Skiba, the editor of Catholic newspaper Christian Polonia, also attacked Todd’s actions.

“The ambassador has demonstrated an extreme lack of diplomacy and absolute ignorance of the values by which the vast majority of our society lives,” he said, adding that Todd should ensure he represents Britain, rather than the “homosexual lobby”.

Last year, Todd, who is married with three children, flew a rainbow flag next to the Union Flag in front of the British embassy to celebrate Pride.

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

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

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The FCO promotes human rights around the world regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Showing support for Pride events, where people seek to assert their rights and highlight the challenges they face, is part of this work.

More: Europe

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