Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Recent Upheaval in Ukraine adversely affects LGBT people

STAFF REPORTS | BRUSSELS -- New concerns regarding the safety and welfare of LGBTQ people in Ukraine were raised Monday by members of the European Union's Parliament.
recent report by NASH MIR Center, a Ukrainian LGBT organisation, reveals that homophobia, transphobia and violence against LGBT people are still widespread. 
A bill recently introduced into the Ukrainian parliament was withdrawn earlier this month which would have banned discrimination in the workplace including LGBT people, only to reintroduce the same bill without sexual orientation as a protected class.
That change in the bill runs counter to an EU requirement for visa liberalisation agreements.
Claude Moraes MEP, Rapporteur on Ukraine and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted:
“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.” 
“The European Parliament’s position has always been clear on this.  Further visa liberalisation measures must go hand in hand with the adoption of anti-discrimination measures by the Verkhovna Rada as agreed, including sexual orientation.”
Additionally, 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.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said:
“The spread of these ‘anti-propaganda’ laws and the calls for further discriminatory restrictions are truly worrying. 
“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.”
A pride event in Sebastopol, Crimea was banned following application of the law. It had been set to take place on 22-23 April.
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.”