European Parliamentarians heading to Kiev Pride

For the second time in a row, a Pride March is scheduled to take place in Kiev this Sunday. From the European Parliament, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Sophie in 't Veld, and members Ana Gomes and Rebecca Harms will march along for equality and human rights.

Gay Flag 2016

Last year’s Pride was attacked twice by far-right hooligans, resulting in injuries for a number of police men and participants.

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Over the last year, Ukraine has made significant progress on the rights of LGBTI people. It included provisions in the Labour Code which outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at the work floor.

Furthermore, a National Strategy on Human Rights was adopted which included provisions seeking to advance the rights of LGBTI people.

However, homo- and transphobia remain a severe problem. In March an LGBTI festival in Lviv in the West of Ukraine, was cancelled following local authorities’ failure to protect the festival from far-right activists.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice President of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented:”On Sunday we support those who want to make Ukraine a modern, open, inclusive society where all citizens are equal, where all can freely and safely be themselves. There is still a long road ahead to achieve full equality in Ukraine and to eradicate homophobia, but I truly welcome the support of Ukrainian politicians and authorities. By embracing diversity, these Ukrainian representatives and all the other pride participants are paving the way for a more open-minded and enriched Ukraine.

Rebecca Harms MEP, Co-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament added: “It is the fundamental right of every citizen to freely assemble. The values of tolerance and diversity that will be celebrated this Sunday were at the heart of the Maidan protest. Ensuring these rights is of crucial importance for the society as a whole as they foster democracy. I look forward to joining the march.”

Ana Gomes MEP, Coordinator of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the S&D Group and Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Undeniably, a lot of progress has been made on LGBTI rights. However, the spotlight on LGBTI people has also led to an increase in violence and homophobia, as the events in Lviv illustrate. I urge the authorities to ensure that all participants of the Pride will be well-protected, in line with European standards.”

Photo by Benson Kua [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons