Human rights activists are concerned: there is not a word about LGBT in the National Strategy on Human Rights

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Human rights activists are concerned about the absence of any reference to sexual orientation and gender identity in a new project of the National Strategy on Human Rights. It was reported by the representative of the Human Rights LGBT-Centre “Our World” Andrii Kravchuk and the head of the Amnesty International in Ukraine Tetiana Mazur.

“We just had a discussion of the project of the National Strategy on Human Rights that is supposed to determine the state policy in this area in the next few years. This discussion took place in Committee on Human Rights at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. And in the project by the Ministry of Justice there is absence of any reference to countering homophobia in Ukraine. Moreover there is not a word about “LGBT”, “sexual orientation” and etc. During the discussion we were given the floor and we spoke of our believes that it should be one of the strategic directions in the Ukrainian policy in the area of human rights. Without overcoming homophobia it is impossible to talk about Ukraine becoming closer to the modern European standards. And we were pleased to be supported by representatives of both Ukrainian human rights organizations as, for example, Amnesty International Ukraine and a representative of the Council of Europe, who said that they understood we could never approve a perfect document, since it’s impossible and we have to stop at some point, but the only claim they had and believed it was absolutely important to take into account is the absence of mentioning human rights of the LGBT people in this document. Without it, it would be impossible due to the modern European standards”, – explained Andrii Kravchuk during the press conference that took place on the 5th of March in the media center Interfax-Ukraine. 

Human rights activist reminded that Petro Poroshenko, while still being a presidential candidate, spoke in support of prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all areas of life. And later the secretariat of the party Petro Poroshenko Bloc confirmed that their political power was actually committed to supporting such prohibition, but so far no real actions followed.

“As for today the project of the National Strategy on Human Rights has been already developed. This project is being discussed and last week was held a hearing of the Committee on Human Rights, which was attended by both MPs and representatives of the Ministry of Justice, as well as representatives of international and national NGOs. This question was raised, and not only by LGBT organizations, or us, it was also spoken about be the representatives of the Council of Europe: that discrimination towards LGBT people is not mentioned in the Strategy is its significant drawback. Especially given that such discrimination is actually being present and is one of the problems in Ukraine, moreover it’s a chronic and systematic issue”, – noted Tetiana Mazur, who believes that at the present time our country lives not only in a war at the east of Ukraine, but is also undergoing a “war of values”.

She also, as a public activist, expressed a hope that nevertheless the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity would be subsequently included in the National Strategy on Human Rights. “We really hope that the project of the Strategy will have consequential amendments”, – stated Mazur. “Besides, will be developed a detailed action plan on how to implement this Strategy into life. Therefore, we very much hope that many aspects will be included in the action plan on implementing the strategy, in particular regarding investigations of hate crimes, on changes in the legislation concerning instruments of protection from discrimination”, – she added.

Ukraine undertook certain international obligations regarding the protection of LGBT rights in the framework of the visa liberalization regime and within the framework of the Association Agreement with the EU, underlined Kravchuk, and therefore the sooner it is done, the better it will be for everyone. “If our politicians continue to hesitate with the necessary reforms, Ukraine will simply “trail behind”. Because even now we haven’t done what even our neighbors long have, who are also among candidates to be a part of the EU – Georgia and Moldova. They without any additional question approved all the required by the European Commission laws, despite the fact that the public resistance there was much stronger than it is here in Ukraine. As a result now they moved so much further on their way to the European integration. For example, Moldova has already obtained visa-free regime with the European Union. Therefore it is possible to slow down this process, but it can no longer be stopped”, – concluded the expert.

Автор: Kolya Camouflage

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