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39 Embassies and Cultural Institutes Welcome Pride Week and Condemn Discrimination Amid Incidents in Budapest

Hungary Today 2020.08.18.

In total, 30 embassies and 9 cultural institutes welcomed the Budapest Pride Festival and condemned the discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTI community in the wake of two incidents that occurred over the weekend. Meanwhile, a right-wing radical group tried to enter a cultural hub where Pride Festival events were being held.

As we reported previously, the Budapest Town Hall and some other (opposition-led) districts’ decision to display the rainbow flag on the occasion of the 25th Pride Festival resulted in two incidents. In Ferencváros, radical elements of the local football club’s supporters stripped off the rainbow flag, while far-right Mi Hazánk’s vice-president Előd Novák did the same with the flag on Town Hall. Both cases resulted in police intervention.

Embassies issue joint statement

First, on Monday, a total of thirty embassies anad nine cultural institutes issued a joint statement welcoming the 25th Pride Festival. They expressed their “strong support” for members of the LGBTI community and “their rights to equality, peaceful expression and assembly, and freedom from discrimination.” They further noted “the important advocacy of LGBTI civil society organizations which are working to ensure that all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, receive the full protection of the law.

Respect for the rule of law and universal human rights are the foundations upon which democratic states are built.

They also “reject and condemn acts of violence, harassment, and discrimination in all regions of the world committed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity” while encouraging “further steps in every country to ensure the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Celebrating diversity is an important way to promote respect for human rights.”

They also praised Budapest Pride, which “has the longest history of such events in the region,” and its “role in promoting equality of treatment and social acceptance for all LGBTI persons, and contributing to the creation of a more just and inclusive society.”

In addition, some of the embassies, such as the Dutch, Swedish, and US ones displayed the rainbow flag as well.

US Embassy concerned about recent incidents

Moreover, the US Embassy in Budapest issued a separate statement condemning the two incidents mentioned above. The statement reads: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that should be able to be exercised without intimidation. Neo-Nazi or other hate groups should not be tolerated in any society. We are particularly troubled by these incidents given the similar attack against the Aurora community center ​last October. It is always important to protect people’s rights so there is equal protection under the law for all Hungarians, including those in the LGBTI community.”

The ambassador also addressed the Pride Festival, speaking out for equal rights and condemning discrimination.

Auróra targeted again

Not long after the US Embassy’s statement, a small far-right group, led by Edda Budaházy — the sister of György Budaházy, a radical activist previously charged with terrorist activities — attempted to enter left-liberal social and cultural hub Auróra, where a number of events of the Pride Festival were and are still being held.

As organizers, in reference to the house rules, prevented them from entering, the far-right group began to verbally insult them, with police eventually showing up. The episode concluded with the far-right group departing some hours later.

featured image: the rainbow flag on the US Embassy’s building; via Facebook

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