MEPs write to Polish Minister of Education about Rainbow Friday

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

poster-3-DEF_www_ex2On 26 October 2018, Rainbow Friday, a day dedicated to raising awareness about LGBTI rights in schools in Poland, took place for the 3rd consecutive year. Schools who were organising events on this day across the country were subjectf the LGBTI Intergroup write to Polish Minister of Education Anna Zalewska to express their concern about the situation.




TO: Honourable Anna Zalewska

Minister of National Education of Poland


Concerns: pressures on Rainbow Friday

Brussels, 5 November 2018


Honourable Minister of National Education,

We are concerned that a number of schools in Poland have faced pressure to cancel Rainbow Friday, an initiative meant to promote tolerance and help create a more inclusive school environment for LGBTI students.

Various reports in the press and from civil society reached us last week concerning unannounced inspections in schools, initiated by the Ministry of National Education, to check if they were involved in the Rainbow Friday initiative. This is corroborated on the official Twitter account of your Ministry, which refers to Rainbow Friday as possible political agitation and confirms more investigation is ongoing to determine if Rainbow Friday breaches education law.

School is the main place where LGBTI children and youth face discrimination. In the Fundamental Rights Agency’s LGBT survey, 91% of respondents from Poland had heard or seen negative comments or conduct because a schoolmate was perceived to be LGBT. Bullying and violence towards LGBTI students is frequent, and prevents them making the most out of their education. Initiatives such as Rainbow Friday are key to create safer and more inclusion environments for all students, including those who are LGBTI.

Pressures on school staff to cancel initiatives such as Rainbow Friday are an attack to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the human rights of LGBTI people, which are protected by EU law. We are all the more surprised as Rainbow Friday has been going on successfully for three years before, and it the first time the Polish government is raising concerns on its legality.

We therefore would like to enquire how your Ministry will ensure initiatives that promote awareness and respect for universal human rights, such as Rainbow Friday, can continue to take place in Poland, and what your government does to create a safer school environment that safeguards the rights of all students, including those who identify as LGBTI.


Yours Sincerely,


Terry Reintke MEP, co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup

Daniele Viotti MEP, co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup

Sophie in’t Veld MEP, vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup

Malin Bjork MEP, vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica MEP

María Dolores Lola Sánchez Caldentey MEP

Julie Ward MEP

Monika Vana MEP

Bart Staes MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

Hilde Vautmans MEP

Isabella Adinolfi MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

Merja Kyllönen MEP

Martina Anderson MEP

Lynn Boylan MEP

Matt Carthy MEP

Liadh Ni Riada MEP

Jill Evans MEP


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