Situation for LGBT people worsens in Russia, Crimea and Ukraine

The Crimean crisis has led to increased tensions for LGBT individuals in Ukraine, the territory of Crimea, and Russia.

Russia and theĀ territory of Crimea

Ukraine and Russia - ILGA-Europe Rainbow MapFollowing the Russian annexation of Crimea, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individualsĀ are now subject to the RussianĀ ‘anti-propaganda’ law. In application of the law, authorities in Sebastopol bannedĀ the Pride march, which was due to take place 22-23 April.

Vitaly Milonov,Ā Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg and co-author of the St. Petersburg anti-propaganda law, called for further measures to ā€˜eradicate the experimental practice of sodomyā€™.

He suggested cracking down on LGBT organisations and clubs, setting up a ā€˜morality policeā€™, 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: ā€œThe 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.Ā The EU and the Council of Europe need to maintain pressure on Russian authorities.ā€

Ukraine

In the meantime, the Ukrainian government withdrew a bill which would haveĀ banned discrimination in the workplace, only to re-introduce the same bill without sexual orientation as a protected ground.

The European Commissionā€™s report of November 2013Ā recalled that anti-discrimination measures, including sexual orientation, are a condition forĀ visa liberalisationĀ with the EU.

A recent report by NASH MIR Center, a Ukrainian LGBT organisation, reveals that homophobia, transphobia and violence against LGBT people are still widespread.

Claude Moraes MEP, Rapporteur on Ukraine and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted:

ā€œIt is extremely worrying that Ukraineā€™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.ā€

ā€œThe European Parliamentā€™s position has always been clear on this.Ā  Further visa liberalisationĀ measures must go hand in hand with the adoption of anti-discrimination measures by theĀ Verkhovna Rada as agreed, including sexual orientation.ā€

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