Joint Letter to the President of Ukraine on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

“LGBTI people in Ukraine endure regular discrimination and violence for which there is rarely accountability. The most recent example was the June 2015 Kyiv Equality March, which was marred by violent attacks in which nearly two dozen police officers and participants were injured. This attack was clearly targeted at LGBTI people and those who support and promote their constitutional rights. This attack, along with dozens of others documented by Nash Mir1 and Amnesty International2, results from the false belief that it is acceptable to discriminate and use violence against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Article 42 of the draft of the new Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of “gender, race, skin color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, belonging to indigenous peoples and national minority, material standing, residence, disability, age or other grounds.” The draft does not explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. By excluding the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity included in earlier drafts, the current draft misses an important opportunity to send a message that violence and discrimination against LGBTI people is not acceptable and to establish a legal foundation for combatting such violence and discrimination. The failure to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2012 anti-discrimination legislation, the National Human Rights Strategy, and the new draft Labor code are similarly missed opportunities”.

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