We, delegates of the General Assembly of International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), representing a network of 78 organisations from 40 countries in the pan-European region and beyond, stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian members and demand respect and fair treatment for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
The General Assembly strongly condemns the efforts of the Ukrainian Parliament to introduce the bill “On Amending Some Legislative Acts On Children’s Right to Safe Information Space Protection” (also referred to as draft # 8711), which would introduce a criminal and administrative liability for so called “homosexual propaganda”. The draft bill has been registered in June 2011 and passed the first reading in Verkhovna Rada on 2nd October 2012. The second and final reading of the draft bill # 8711 is scheduled to take place on 12th December 2012.
If adopted, draft bill # 8711 will restrict the fundamental rights of LGBTQ citizens to, amongst others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to assembly, freedom of association, and the rights to truthful and objective education. The proposed draft law represents an imminent threat to human rights of all Ukrainian citizens as it stands in clear violation of the Ukrainian Constitution Section II, as well as number of binding international agreements, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity (CM/Rec(2010)5), the European Convention of Human Rights, several rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (L.9/Rev.1) that was supported by the government of Ukraine just last year.
We believe that this draft law aims to silence anyone wishing to distribute or access information on LGBTQ issues and justifies censorship and even violence towards anyone who is or is perceived to be part of the LGBTQ community.
The draft law # 8711 implies to protect children against the LGBTQ community. We believe that this, in fact, is an outrageous and uninformed statement. Being an LGBTQ person is not a moral decision and government should not decide on questions of morals.
IGLYO is very concerned that draft bill # 8711 justifies verbal and physical violence directed at LGBTQ children, youth and adults. The proposed bill, if adopted, will reinforce prejudice and hatred against LGBTQ people and impose severe limitations on all Ukrainian children and youth, as well as adults and the LGBTQ community in general. The adoption of said bill will have profound effects on the physical, mental and social well being of LGBTQ youth and children, and will increase the numbers of incidents of hate speech and hate crime.
The draft bill perpetuates a stereotype that all gay men are HIV positive, which not only stigmatizes the LGBTQ population, but also stigmatizes the condition of being HIV positive.
Furthermore, we are worried that draft bill # 8711 will restrict freedom of speech, affecting the media, art, literature and the freedom of expression in general. We believe that an aspiration of Ukraine to join the European Union is jeopardized in the case this draft bill will be adopted, as human rights are the foundation of the European Union.
We strongly believe that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer young people should be included, respected and recognized in all areas of life, and that celebration of diversity and equality is key to living in a democratic and peaceful society.
Therefore we, young people, in all our diversity:
• Demand the Parliament of Ukraine to abandon efforts of introducing the discriminatory legislation and instead grant each and every citizen of Ukraine protection of fundamental human rights, by passing the anti-discrimination legislation that would protect against the discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
• Call upon the government of Ukraine to work with the LGBTQ community to improve the provisions of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, taking into consideration the needs of LGBTQ young people.
• Urge the authorities of Ukraine to provide free access to adequate and comprehensive information on the diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
• Call upon civil society to join together in speaking out against the atrocity of this proposed bill, to take action on safeguarding and advancing human rights of each and everyone.
• We call upon all pan-European and international human rights organisations to support the protection of fundamental rights of LGBTQ individuals in Ukraine.
8th December 2012, Mykolayiv, Ukraine.