Anti-discrimination law is for social and legal defence, not pre-election PR


The Coalition against Discrimination in Ukraine has issued a statement regarding parliament’s adoption on 6 September of Law No. 10468 On the principles for preventing and countering discrimination in Ukraine.  The Coalition states that while clearly welcoming the adoption of a base anti-discrimination law in Ukraine, and noting that this is one of the strict demands on Ukraine in the EU visa liberalization action plan, the law itself contains a number of failings.

“For example, the law contains too restricted a list of types of discrimination which the Coalition says roams from one piece of legislation to another without bringing anything significantly new into the social and legal protection of people from unfair treatment.  It also fails to envisage either amendments to other pieces of legislation or the creation of an effective mechanism for practical defence from discrimination.

The Coalition notes that the motive for speedy adoption of an anti-discrimination law without heed for proper quality is clearly to apparently comply with certain EU requirements before the elections in order to be able to report success and get voter support.

It is clear, the Coalition says, that those who drew up the bill, as well as those who adopted it, did not have time to properly take social realities into consideration. In order to get a result quickly, they also ignored proper procedure for public discussion.

The Coalition has been working on proposals since spring of last year based on European approaches on countering discrimination and human rights. It put these forward to the government, but they were not taken into account.

It points out to political parties who supported the law in parliament that the points scored before the elections could be rendered meaningless by a negative response from NGOs, trade unions, religious organizations, research institutes, the media etc.

The Coalition calls on the President to use his power of veto and return the law to parliament for revision taking into account expert opinions from both Ukrainian and foreign specialists. It notes that an assessment of the bill is being carried out right now by European analytical institutions, but that this was ignored by parliament which hurried to pass the bill so as to not have to consider their comments.

It suggests that vetoing the anti-discrimination law would make it possible in a way that looks good from a political point of view to get rid of its failings and make the law more in line with EU human rights standards. 

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