(Moscow) – The Ukrainian parliament should reject two draft laws that would discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and infringe on their free expression rights. On April 3, 2013, one of the bills passed a parliamentary committee vote, sending it to the full parliament for first reading.
Bill No. 1155 defines propaganda as any public activity that spreads positive information about homosexuality, such as rallies, parades, demonstrations about LGBT rights, discussions, or special courses. Bill No. 0945 provides for similar prohibitions on publication and distribution of written or video products that “promote” homosexuality. Violators of the laws may face up to six and five years in prison respectively.
“These blatantly discriminatory anti-LGBT bills should never have gotten this far in the legislative process,” said Anna Kirey, LGBT research fellow at Human Rights Watch. “Ukrainian lawmakers should reject these bills and send a clear signal that ‘propaganda’ laws are off the table for good.”
Ukraine’s record on combating discrimination will be in the international spotlight this week, with the European Parliament slated to vote on April 18 on an agreement easing visa restrictions for Ukrainians wishing to travel to European Union countries – a key step toward closer relations between the EU and Ukraine. Visa liberalization with Ukraine is conditioned on a number of benchmarks the EU has set, including adoption of comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation and ensuring protection against discrimination. Ukraine has not taken those steps.
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