Nikola Zurovac, the ambassador of Serbia to Poland, was dismissed from his role after he signed a letter in support of the Polish LGBT+ community.
Zurovac was among diplomats from 40 countries to call for the protection of LGBT+ rights in Poland. The letter was published to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (17 May).
The diplomats shared their support for the “efforts to raise public awareness of issues that affects” the LGBT+ community in Poland. It also called for people to work together to “shield communities in need of protection from verbal and physical abuse and hate speech”.
According to Kurir, Zurovac signed the letter before Nikola Selaković, the minister of foreign affairs, was set to visit Poland. The tabloid reported that Zurovac’s move was negatively received by conservative authorities in Poland so Selaković’s visit was postponed.
Serbian broadcasting company B92 reported that Selaković announced that Zurovac was recalled from his post during a session of government Thursday (20 May), and Zurovac will now return to Serbia.
Selaković reiterated the reason for dismissing Zurovac was not because of the content of the letter but because he did not follow the proper procedure before he signed it. He said: “The ambassador did not inform anyone about that. We are not talking about the subject of the letter and its content.
“To avoid all insinuations, it is not about the content of the letter, but the failure of the Serbian ambassador to sign a document without informing the person responsible for his work.”
Selaković added this would have been the case whatever Zurovac signed if he did so without asking because it could lead to a breakdown in relationships and that would be a problem.
Balkan Insight reported Selaković said the visit to Poland will be “organised again soon”.
LGBT+ people face widespread discrimination in Poland. Since March 2019, more than 100 regions, counties and municipalities in the country have declared themselves to be free from LGBT+ “ideology”.
Two years later, the European Union declared itself an “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in a symbolic protest against the discriminatory policies promoted in Poland. The resolution states that LGBT+ people “everywhere in the EU should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly show their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution”.
In April, the small community of Kraśnik in eastern Poland revoked its ‘LGBT-free’ status. Mayor Wojciech Wilk told the New York Times that he realised the decision to declare the town “free from LGBT+ ideology” in May 2019 has resulted in Kraśnik becoming a “synonym for homophobia”.
He said in a later interview that the community’s councillors backtracked on the anti-LGBT+ resolution so Kraśnik can have a “better chance of obtaining external funds in the future”, especially “Norwegian funds”.