Twenty-three ambassadors of foreign countries accredited in Bulgaria have issued a joint statement of support for Sofia Pride 2018, being held on June 9.
The statement noted that this was the 11th Sofia Pride, and was being held during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“This provides an important opportunity to express support for human rights and tolerance, celebrating diversity and condemning homophobia and transphobia.”
Respect for human rights, including fairness, equality, non-discrimination, and freedom of expression and the rule of law, are the foundations of democratic states. These rights and protection should be equally applicable to LGBTI people, the statement said.
“By signing this statement, we encourage Bulgarian society and public authorities to seize the opportunity to support and defend these values to join in the procession of Sofia Pride, accepting LGBT people as equal citizens without prejudice and discrimination and to contribute to LGBTI equality.”
The statement called on Bulgarian authorities not to allow extreme views to undermine what should and will be an occasion for joy.
The statement was signed by the ambassadors of Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the representatives of Unicef and the UNHCR, and the head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Sofia.
Meanwhile, replying to an invitation from the organisers for her and her party members to take part in Sofia Pride, opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova said that it would be up to individual members of the party whether to take part.
In a copy of her letter posted on the BSP website, Ninova said that the party opposed violence and discrimination against anyone, including LGBTI people.
“They are free to choose how they live their life. However, attempts to force differences on a society which does not accept them will backfire.”
She said that while she respects LGBTI people, she also expected to see respect for the opinion of 75 per cent of Bulgarians, a view that she shared, opposing same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples.
“As regards your call for Bulgaria as President of the EU Council to take a clear political stance on these issues, please contact Prime Minister Boiko Borissov,” Ninova said.
(Photo: Ludovic Bertron)