MEPs call on Ukraine to protect LGBTI community
Over 30 MEPs have signed a letter calling on Ukraine to take concrete legal measures to insure equal rights for the LGBTI community in the country.
Kyiv Pride | Photo credit: Press Association
The letter was sent just ahead of a high profile LGBGTI march in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, on Sunday.
The move was initiated by Greens/EFA group member Rebecca Harms, who was travelling to Kyiv on Friday and will take part in the march.
The letter, signed by 34 MEPs from different political groups and member states, is addressed to Ukrainian government officials, urging them to support the event, and take concrete legal measures to insure equal rights for the LGBTI community.
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The members will participate at several events and meetings with the organisers of the Kyiv Pride, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Canadian embassy around the topic of human rights, the question how to protect discriminated minorities and how to promote civil equality rights.
On Sunday morning, Harms will take part in the Kyiv Pride for the third time.
The open letter is addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, government cabinet ministers and to members of the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s Parliament.
It states, “One of the founding principles of the European Union is to ensure equal rights for everyone, regardless of their gender, nationality, skin colour or sexuality.
“As Ukrainians are progressing on the path towards European integration, we salute the progress made for greater LGBTI equality. Two years of violence-free Kyiv Pride events has demonstrated the country’s commitment to the right of peaceful assembly, which so many sacrificed their lives for during the Maidan Revolution.
“We urge the Ukrainian authorities to preserve peace this year on 17 June and provide security backing for the upcoming Kyiv Pride. We also urge Ukrainian authorities, members of the Parliament, cabinet of ministers and the President to strengthen the country’s commitment to a European future and take up the unfinished job of providing equal access to basic rights for LGBTI Ukrainians.”
The letter, seen by this website, goes on, “We regret to see that the legislative progress is stalled: while NGOs recorded multiple instances of hate speech and hate crime in 2017 in Ukraine, which remains one of the last places in Europe where no laws protect LGBTI minorities from either of the two.
“Civil society’s recommendations to the health ministry for improving legal recognition and healthcare access for trans Ukrainians haven’t been adopted.
“To this day, LGBTI public events all over the country face regular disruptions and attacks. No one’s rights are safe until the rights of all are protected. Big changes often start with symbolic gestures. We encourage Ukrainian leaders and authorities to join their citizens for the Kyiv Pride on 17 June.”
It implores the authorities to “make history and be in the front row as Ukrainians march towards being a strong, diverse and equal democracy within our European family of states.”
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