Anti-Discrimination Coalition calls on parliament to revoke anti-gay bill



In an appeal to the Speaker of Parliament and heads of factions, the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine has expressed concern over the draft bill prohibiting “promotion of homosexuality” and called on parliament to withdraw it.

The Coalition’s appeal (in its translation)

On the unacceptability of the bill Reg.Nr. 8711

Dear members of Ukrainian Parliament,

We, the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine, the union of NGOs and independent experts, who work in the interests of discriminated groups in Ukraine in order to reach equality, would like to appeal to you concerning the bill passed on October 2, 2012 in the first reading of the project of the Law “On the amendment of certain legislative acts (on protection of children’s rights for safe informational space)”, Reg.Nr. 8711 (further referred as “bill 8711”). We would like to express our deep concern about this initiative. We believe that this bill should be declined in the second reading, because of the following reasons:

1.     The Bill 8711 is ambiguous. It does not have any definition of the “homosexualims propaganda”, at the ban of which the bill is aimed. In case of the bill being passed, the citizen will not know how to act in order not to break the norms of this law. This could lead to misuse and excessive limitation of the citizens’ rights by the civil-cervices and governmental officials. Thereby an important principle of law is violated – the law determination of the law norm. Constitutional court of Ukraine pointed this principle out many times, for example in the motivational part of the decisions on cases №v005p710-05 from 22.09.2005 and №v017p710-10 from 29.06.2010.

2.     The Bill 8711 is illogical. Authors of the bill state that they are acting for the benefit of children. However, practice shows that this bill will infringe children’s rights and will harm their interests. According to the official magazine of American Paediatrics Academy “Pediatrics”, at least 47% homosexual teenagers are seriously considering suicide and 36% already attempted to commit it. This happens because of isolation that they face, rejection by peers, bullying, and depressive state. The ban on public discussion of the issue of homosexuality will have negative effect on minors. In order to effectively fight homophobic persecution that often leads to suicide, we should involve relative information to the educational programmes on tolerance.

3.     Bill 8711 is criticized. The bill already was assessed negatively by the Main Scientific and Expertise Board of the Supreme Council of Ukraine and was severely criticized by many Ukrainian and foreign law experts. Many international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations expressed their protest, among them: UN Office in Ukraine, a group of the European Parliament members, General Secretary of the European Council, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Group, IBF “International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine”.

4.     Bill 8711 is subversive. In times of the complicated situation with the foreign policy, before the chairmanship of our country in the OSCE, this bill undermines authority of Ukraine in the perspective of the international community. Similarly, passing a similar bill in the Russian Federation already evoked backlash and harsh comments from the governments of democratic countries, international bodies and the wide public.

5.     Bill 8711 is unjust. The bill is aimed at exclusion of the whole social group from informational space and thereby from the public like. Such legislation is unacceptable in the democratic society, as it promotes infringement of the human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identification.

6.     Bill 8711 is discriminating. One of the rigid demands from the European Union to the Strategy on Liberalization of Visa Regime is the passing of antidiscrimination legislation in Ukraine. Thus the President of Ukraine recently signed Law of Ukraine “On Principles of Prevention and Counteraction to discrimination in Ukraine”. This law prohibits discrimination based on any characteristics, including sexual orientation. The Bill 8711, however, counters the aforementioned law (and international commitments of Ukraine), as it legislatively compromises discrimination of one of the characteristics. It also infringes rights guaranteed by art. 21, 22 and 14 of the Constitution of Ukraine, by art. 14 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Protocol 12 to it, which Ukraine has the obligation to fulfil.

Referring to the aforementioned reasons we appeal to you to bring to the agenda of the Supreme Council of Ukraine the question of withdrawal of the Bill 8711 as the one that infringes human rights and to reject it in the second reading.

Yours respectfully,

Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine

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