UHHRU condemns plan to bring in liability for “propaganda of homosexuality”
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has addressed an open letter to the Speaker of Parliament and chairs of various parliamentary committees regarding a bill which proposes introducing liability for what it calls “propaganda of homosexuality”.
The bill, tabled in late June this year, proposes amendment to some legislative acts “(on protecting children’s right to a safe information realm”.
Its authors stated that it has been drawn up in order to counter propaganda of homosexuality in Ukraine and ensure liability for infringements of legislation regarding protection of public order and the morality of Ukrainian society.
UHHRU expresses concern over the consequences that the adoption of such a draft law would bring.
The bill, it says, is based on the idea that a person’s sexual orientation is not a natural part of the person and can therefore be regulated by law. This runs counter to modern understanding of human individuals, which recognizes as normal various models of behaviour in ones private life and in relations with others.
It would undoubtedly clash with other legislative norms based on modern ideas and standards.
The draft contains terms which are not defined with sufficient certainty to be able to apply the regulations to the circulation of any information or any discussion which mentions or concerns homosexuality. This, UHHRU points out, infringes Article 34 of the Constitution which clearly states that everyone is guaranteed the right to freedom of thought and speech, and to the free expression of his or her views and beliefs. Everyone has the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information by oral, written or other means of his or her choice.
Yes, this law may be restricted by law in the interests of national security, however the draft bill’s treatment of circulation of information about homosexuality as “a threat to national security” flies in the face of commonsense and any scientific research. Should the law be passed, it would not only violate Ukraine’s Constitution, but would constitute disproportionate interference in freedom of expression and run counter to te European Convention on Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights case law.
The law in fact, were it to be passed, would be more likely to jeopardize national security by making it more difficult to implement state programmes on fighting HIV/AIDS. ‘
Adoption of the law would also cause unwarranted restrict of the right to peaceful assembly since any picket, rally etc aimed, for example, at defending gay rights, etc, could be qualified as “propaganda of homosexuality”.
Its adoption would also lead to a disproportionate and discriminatory restrict of the right to freedom of thought and speech for one group in society, this being in breach of Article 24 of the Constitution.
UHHRU therefore calls on deputies to reject the bill in its first reading.
The letter is signed by Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHRU Executive Director.