BY Julie Bolcer
August 31 2009 11:50 AM ET
Embassies from 13 countries including the United States issued a joint statement expressing support for the Budapest pride festival, which culminates with a march in the Hungarian capital this Saturday amid fears of violence, reports UK Gay News.
The statement from embassies on four continents calls for respect for human rights and the rule of law at the Budapest march. It references the joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity delivered at the United Nations Gender Assembly last December.
“Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” says the statement. ”We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties.”
The Budapest pride festival, which began in 1997, was marked by antigay and anti-Semitic violence in 2007 and 2008. This year, the extreme right-wing party Movement for a Better Hungary announced in June that it would stop the September 5 march “by all means necessary.”
In addition to the statement from the embassies, Budapest police and city officials have pledged to protect the marchers, and actress Whoopi Goldberg, who has filmed in Hungary, recorded a video message expressing her support.