EU must not allow Ukraine to backtrack on commitments

EU must not allow Ukraine to backtrack on commitments
Ahead of further talks on the new EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Amnesty International is urging the EU to reject attempts by Ukraine to renege on previous commitments to legislate against homophobia.
“Ukraine cannot pick and choose which citizens should be protected from discrimination. Instead it must honour its commitment to develop a legal framework to combat homophobia and the EU must hold them to that commitment at every opportunity,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
On Thursday Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Valeriya Lutkowska, announced that she and a number of parliamentarians will travel to Brussels to persuade the EU to release the country from its responsibility to pass legislation tackling homophobia. This announcement contradicts a statement by Ukraine at a meeting on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement last June when the country reiterated its commitment to developing a legal framework to protect minorities from discrimination.
The announcement came after the Ukrainian government indicated they would not support a draft law aimed at outlawing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, which is due to be discussed in parliament. The draft law proposes amendments to, amongst others, the “Law on Employment” adding a ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment. Amnesty International has repeatedly called on parliamentarians to pass this law, and to consider amending the “Law on Combating Discrimination” to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The widespread discrimination and violence currently faced by LGBTI people in Ukraine makes the need for a strong law all the more urgent,” said Nicolas Beger.“At this critical moment in Ukraine’s future, leaders should be showing political courage in leading a change in social attitudes and embracing universal human rights values. Instead, they are caving to those who advocate hate by publicly making clear that they are afraid to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people.”
Amnesty International is particularly concerned that Ukraine’s human rights authority, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, is leading the attempt to exclude this group from the protection of the law.
For more information, please contact:
Helen McCarthy
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 1383