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Amnesty Demands Legislation Against Discrimination On Ukraine's LGBT People

The Ukrainian government must introduce legislation to address discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity following a number of attacks on individuals, Amnesty International said in a report published on Thursday.

The London-based human rights watchdog also called on Ukraine's lawmakers to vote down proposed legislation to criminalize the "propaganda of homosexuality", something that is being debated in Parliament at the moment.

"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," said Max Tucker, an Amnesty International expert on Ukraine.

"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," he added.

The Amnesty International report, "Nothing to be proud of: Discrimination against LGBTI people in Ukraine," exposes endemic discrimination by officials and members of the public towards LGBTI people. Attacks on LGBTI people are felled by negative stereotypical and discriminatory statements from elected government officials and church leaders.

Rather than addressing discrimination against LGBTI people, Parliament is now discussing proposals to criminalize the "propaganda of homosexuality," measures that would restrict fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.

To date, no pride march of LGBTI supporters has yet taken place in Ukraine. A march planned for last May was canceled at the last moment because of threats of violence and the failure of the Kyiv police to put in place adequate security measures to protect marchers.

Tucker urged the Ukrainian police to guarantee adequate police protection for LGBTI groups seeking to demonstrate peacefully, and to ensure that Ukraine's first LGBTI pride march takes place on 25 May in Kyiv without hindrance. A further failure to protect LGBTI groups exercising their right to peaceful assembly would not bode well for Ukraine's aspirations to move closer to the European Union, Amnesty warned.

"If the government of Ukraine is to succeed in these ambitions it must bring its legislation into line with European human rights standards. It must ensure that all people, including LGBTI people, are treated equally," Amnesty added.

by RTT Staff Writer

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