LGBT people in Crimea and Ukraine fear persecution under Russian anti-gay law

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Concerns have been raised for the safety of LGBT people in Ukraine, Crimea and Russia amid a crisis in the area.

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

The law bans the promotion of “non-tradition sexual relationships” to minors.

A pride event in Sebastopol 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 to “eradicate the experimental practice of sodomy.”

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.”

Since the beginning of the crisis, the Ukranian government has also withdrawn a bill which would have banned anti-gay discrimination in the workplace, re-introducing the bill without listing sexual orientation as a protected ground.

Claude Moraes MEP, Rapporteur on Ukraine and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “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.”