ILGA-Europe calls on the European Parliament to refer the report on visa facilitation back to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee for reconsideration and thus postpone the vote. Ukraine should honour the commitments it made to introduce a prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination in employment but that it has yet to fulfil. Moreover, the Ukrainian Parliament is currently debating two separate discriminatory proposals. First is to ban ‘promotion of homosexuality’ which if adopted will seriously undermine the freedom of expression on the grounds of sexual orientation and the second is to introduce a crime of ‘propaganda of same-sex relationship’ punishable by imprisonment. These draft laws go completely against the fundamental principles of the European Union and Ukraine commitments.
Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
“We support and encourage the visa facilitation agreement between the European and Ukraine as we believe it will benefit greater openness and increased opportunities to Ukrainian citizens. But in strengthening relations with the EU, Ukraine needs to show its readiness to fulfil commitments on human rights. Supporting the visa facilitation agreement at this time will send out a wrong political signal. Therefore we encourage the European Parliament to postpone the vote and therefore give Ukraine the opportunity to deliver on the improvement of human rights and to abandon current initiatives which would in effect criminalise the work of LGBTI human rights defenders and seriously limit freedom of expression.”