The Crimean crisis has led to increased tensions for LGBT individuals in Ukraine, the territory of Crimea, and Russia.
Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are now subject to the Russian ‘anti-propaganda’ law. In application of the law, authorities in Sebastopol banned the Pride march, which was due to take place 22-23 April.
Vitaly Milonov, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg and co-author of the St. Petersburg anti-propaganda law, called for further measures to ‘eradicate the experimental practice of sodomy’.
He suggested cracking down on LGBT organisations and clubs, setting up a ‘morality police’, and restricting the use of online social media in relation to LGBT issues.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, reacted: “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.”
In the meantime, the Ukrainian government withdrew a bill which would have banned discrimination in the workplace, only to re-introduce the same bill without sexual orientation as a protected ground.
The European Commission’s report of November 2013 recalled that anti-discrimination measures, including sexual orientation, are a condition for visa liberalisation with the EU.
Claude Moraes MEP, Rapporteur on Ukraine and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted:
“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.”
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