On Thursday (5 November 2015), only 117 members of the 450-seat parliament supported the proposal to amend the labour code. As a result, it is unlikely that Ukrainians will enjoy easier travel to the European Union in the short-term, as the anti-discrimination legislation was a necessary prerequisite for any visa-free travel arrangement.
Reacting to the vote, ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said: “The rejection of these urgently needed anti-discrimination provisions is disappointing and concerning in equal measure. ILGA-Europe have called for the implementation of equality measures as part of the EU-Ukraine association process for a long time.”
“In 2014, President Poroshenko considered it the state’s duty to implement equality between citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. This principle appears to have been forgotten now. ILGA-Europe remind the EU and Ukraine of their human rights obligations and we will continue to advocate for strong legal protection for LGBTI people in Ukraine.” continued Evelyne Paradis.
The European Union has insisted that Ukraine introduce specific human rights measures since the visa liberalisation discussion started in earnest in 2010, with the presentation of a visa liberalisation action plan. The equality benchmarks laid out by the EU have not yet been met, meaning that LGBTI people in Ukraine continue to live and work in a precarious position. They deserve legal protection and social certainty. The Ukrainian authorities have a responsibility to introduce inclusive legislation without delay, for the benefit of all their citizens.