Pressure on Ukraine to reject ‘gay propaganda’ bill

Volodymyr Rybak, chairman of the Ukraine parliament (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Volodymyr Rybak, chairman of the Ukraine parliament (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Sixty-two members of the U.S. Congress   on March 12 appealed to the Ukraine parliament to reject proposed laws against “homosexual propaganda.”

In a letter to Volodymyr Rybak, chairman of the parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, they praised Ukraine for progress in human rights, but warned that “these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people. This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”

The bills would provide up to a six-year sentence for distributing “any positive information about same-sex relationship,” the letter said.

In October, the Ukraine parliament gave preliminary approval to one of the proposed bans.

The Council for Global Equality welcomed the letter, noting that today in Geneva,human rights defenders from the LGBT Council of Ukraine will criticize those proposals before the UN Human Rights Council. The council quoted Olena Shevchenko of the Ukrainian human rights group Insight as saying:

“Unfortunately, we need to recognize that the human rights situation of LGBTI people has worsened in Ukraine. Violence against LGBTI people has increased, and peaceful and legitimate public demonstrations against homophobic legislation have been banned and led to the arrest of LGBTI human rights defenders.”

The United Nations and members of the European Parliament have also written to Ukrainian officials to express similar concerns and to call on them to reject the laws.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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