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Recent upheaval in Ukraine adversely affects country’s LGBT population

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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BRUSSELS — New concerns regarding the safety and welfare of LGBTQ people in Ukraine were raised Monday by members of the European Union’s Parliament.

UkraineA recent report by NASH MIR Center, a Ukrainian LGBT organization, found evidence of widespread homophobia, transphobia and violence against LGBT people.

A bill recently introduced into the Ukrainian parliament was withdrawn earlier this month which would have banned workplace discrimination against LGBT people, only to be reintroduced without sexual orientation as a protected class.

That change in the bill runs counter to an European Union requirement for visa liberalization agreements.

“It is extremely worrying that Ukraine’s government seems unwilling to adopt legislation that would ensure protection from discrimination to all people at work. LGBT people still face discrimination in every single area of life, and clearly need basic legal protection,” said Claude Moraes, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Rapporteur on Ukraine and Member of the LGBT Intergroup.

“The European Parliament’s position has always been clear on this. Further visa liberalization measures must go hand in hand with the adoption of anti-discrimination measures by the Verkhovna Rada as agreed, including sexual orientation,” said Moraes.

The Crimean crisis has led to increased tensions for LGBT individuals in Ukraine, the territory of Crimea, and Russia.

Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, LGBT people are now subjected to the anti-gay propaganda law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last June.

“The spread of these ‘anti-propaganda’ laws and the calls for further discriminatory restrictions are truly worrying,” said Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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“It shows these laws started a dangerous trend of fear mongering and inciting hatred, whereby some wrongly think that it’s alright to restrict the rights of a group they dislike. The EU and the Council of Europe need to maintain pressure on Russian authorities,” said Lunacek.

A pride event in Sebastopol, Crimea — scheduled for last week — was banned following application of the law.

Since the law was brought into practice last year, Vitaly Milonov, the Member of the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg and the co-author of the law, has called for more measures across the Russian Federation and its territories to “eradicate the experimental practice of sodomy.”

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