Ukraine: Amnesty pushes urgent introduction of anti-LGBT discrimination laws

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Amnesty International has published a report which urges the Ukrainian Government to introduce legislation to tackle discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, following a number of attacks.

This week, a bill to protect gay Ukrainian workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation was dropped by the country’s parliament, as hundreds of anti-gay protesters gathered to demonstrate against it.

The organisation also encouraged lawmakers in the country to vote down proposed legislation which would criminalise the homosexual “propaganda”, which is currently being debate in parliament.

Max Tucker, an Amnesty expert on Ukraine, said: “People have been beaten and in one case murdered because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Most of these crimes have not been properly investigated and have gone unpunished.”

“To add insult to injury, the possibility of attack is now routinely used as an excuse to deprive gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people of their rights to express themselves and to hold public events in a peaceful manner.”

The report, titled Nothing to be proud of: Discrimination against LGBTI people in Ukraine, exposes endemic discrimination by officials, and members of the public, against LGBT people.

The report found that the attacks were fuelled by negative stereotypes and discriminatory statements from elected officials and church leaders.

It noted that no LGBT pride events had taken place to date in the country, and that earlier this month a pride event scheduled for 25 May was cancelled.

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.

Ukraine is currently governed by the Party of Regions political party who is strongly pro-Russia. Russia is currently passing 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.