Ukraine Parliament Passes Anti-Discrimination Amendment
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today praised Ukraine’s parliament for passing a workplace anti-discrimination amendment to the country’s labor code that is inclusive of sexual orientation. The new legislation provides a key legal protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ukrainians, while also bringing the country more in line with European Union human rights standards. It is a welcome shift away from the homophobic political influence of Russia in the region and presents an opportunity for the United States and the EU to continue confronting persecution and marginalization of the LGBT community.
“Today’s vote is an important victory for Ukraine’s LGBT community and a reassuring step forward as Ukraine works to sever idealogical ties with Russia and form new bonds with the European Union,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We hope that Ukraine will continue to make progress toward greater equality and respect for the human rights of LGBT people.”
The anti-discrimination amendment updates the country’s Soviet-era Labor Code to comply with EU employment nondiscrimination standards, improving Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union and increasing chances that Ukrainians may access visa-free travel to EU nations. The amendment passed today with the support of 234 members of the 423-seat Verkhovna Rada. The amendment was one of 12 laws that the EU called for as prerequisites for lightened travel requirements as part of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan. The European Commission monitors implementation of the plans before submitting findings to the European Parliament.
The Ukrainian LGBT community is an especially vulnerable group that often faces persecution from factions across the political spectrum.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style propaganda laws in the surrounding region. Human Rights First’s blueprint, “How to Stop Russia from Exporting Homophobia” details how Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and outlines key steps that the U.S. government can take to stop the spread of laws and policies that infringe on the human rights of the LGBT community.