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Amnesty International: Ukraine’s attempt to ignore anti-gay discrimination is ‘unacceptable’

Aaron Day September 6, 2013
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The Human Rights organisation Amnesty International has said that Ukraine’s recent bid to release itself from EU obligations to legislate against homophobia is an unacceptable attempt to deny equal rights in the country.

The Ukrainian foreign minister, Leonid Kozhara, promised in February that the country would soon ban all anti-gay discrimination in an interview with a Polish newspaper.

This came before its commitment to the European Committee in June, where the government said it would develop a legal framework to protect minorities from discrimination.

However, following a number of anti-gay protests in the country, it later indicated it would not support a draft law aimed at outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Valeriya Lutkowska, announced that she and a number of parliamentarians would travel to Brussels to persuade the EU to release the country from its responsibility to legislate against discrimination.

This Friday, Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International Amnesty came out against Ukraine’s attempt to undermine the state of anti-gay discrimination.

He said: “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 it to that commitment at every opportunity.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Ukraine to pass this law, and also consider amending the “Law on Combating Discrimination” to include sexual orientation.

Mr Krivosheev added: “The widespread social discrimination and violence currently faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex people in Ukraine makes the need for a strong law all the more urgent.

“At this critical moment in Ukraine’s future, political leaders should be showing the strength of character to lead a change in social attitudes and embrace universal human rights values.

“Instead, they are caving in to those who advocate hate by publicly making clear they are afraid to stand up for the rights of sexual minorities.”

Ukraine is currently governed by the Party of Regions political party who is strongly pro-Russia. Russia has currently passed several notorious laws which restrict the freedoms of LGBT citizenssomething that the Ukrainian Parliament also examined.

In a 2007 poll 5.7% of Ukrainians said that “gay lifestyles” were acceptable and only 4.7% of Ukrainians stated that they thought same-sex marriage in the country was a priority.

Earlier this week, Amnesty also urged leaders meeting at the St Petersburg G20 summit to condemn Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law and do everything in their power to persuade authorities to scrap it.

More: amnesty international, anti-gay laws, Crime, David Cameron, Discrimination, EU, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, ukraine, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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