14 June 2016
Source: HRO.org (info)
An equality march took place in Kiev on 12 June 2016, which was a peaceful demonstration in defence of the rights of LGBT people in Ukraine. Participants demanded equal rights, benefits, and freedoms for all living in the country, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Welcoming the declaration of the Ukrainian activists, the Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre and the Centre for Civil Liberties consider it appropriate to remember on this day that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity is still widespread, and that in some parts of Ukraine, which are under Russian authority, homophobia takes on even more severe forms, threatening the lives and safety of residents. A new human-rights report, prepared by the Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre with the support of the Centre for Civil Liberties, is dedicated precisely to this problem. It is titled “Violations of the rights of LGBT people in Crimea and Donbass: The problem of homophobia in territories not under Ukrainian control.”
While working on this report, dozens of eyewitnesses of the events that have taken place in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in the past few years were interviewed. Many of them described the persecution of sexual and gender minorities; they described an atmosphere of fear, secrecy, and insecurity; they described the impossibility for people to come out even to close friends and the inability to trust even their own community.
In a region stricken by war, people’s lives are in constant danger, and for LGBT people this danger is multiplied due to openly homophobic armed people, decrees and regulations passed by local “authorities,” the influence of Russian laws restricting the rights of minorities, and the prohibition of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual orientations.”
The report analyzes the current laws regarding family rights, labour rights, and other rights of minorities - both Ukrainian and Russian (de-facto imposed in a seized Crimea) - as well as newly emerging “legislation” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. The human rights defenders’ conclusion is that the position of LGBT people in Crimea and eastern Ukraine has deteriorated greatly in the past two years, and activists of the movement have been forced to leave or abandon their work in organizing the community.
Members of sexual and gender minorities who remain are subject to constant discrimination, danger of exposure, persecution, isolation, stigma, and even criminalization. The most vulnerable are LGBT teens, families with children, and transgender people.
Memorial and the Centre for Civil Liberties strongly recommend that all sides of the conflict take decisive measures to improve the position of LGBT people: to stop persecution and harassment, to effectively investigate all hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, and to end impunity for these crimes. It is essential to provide the LGBT community the full ability to exercise the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Ukrainian and international law.
Please note that international organizations have a special responsibility to monitor the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups. Crimea and parts of Donbass not under the control of the Ukrainian government should not be perceived as “grey zones of the law”; their citizens need help exercising their rights, ensuring freedom, equality, and dignity for all.
Read the report: ‘СViolation of the rights of LGBT people in Crimea and Donbass: the problem of homophobia in territories not under Ukrainian control’
HRO.org in English >