EU Delgation in Ukraine: requirement to pass anti-discrimination law remains in force
Recently the media disseminated information that Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine refuses to accept the government's bill to amend the anti-discrimination legislation, which is part of Ukraine's commitments under the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan between Ukraine and EU. Rada decided to send a delegation to the European Commission with the proposal to refuse approval of this bill, or at least remove from it provision of prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in employment relations. Ukrainian MPs have not yet decided exactly how to get around this requirement of the EU, but the main idea was to use the fact that the Ombudsman of Ukraine proposes a plan to combat discrimination, which supposedly can replace a direct and explicit prohibition of discrimination against Ukrainian LGBTI.
In this regard, Sept. 6 Center "Our World" (Nash Mir) and the Council of LGBT organisations in Ukraine appealed to MEPs and the EU Delegation to Ukraine with a request not to accept such offers. The organisation said that the state should not seek ways to avoid the necessary reforms that bring Ukrainian legislation and society to modern European standards, and immediately implement them.
On September 10 "Our World" received an official response from the EU Ambassador to Ukraine Mr. Jan Tombinski . In his letter, he recalls that the EU considers inappropriate use of cultural, traditional or religious values to justify any form of discrimination, particularly against LGBT people, and that the Action Plan requires Ukraine to adopt and implement a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in accordance with monitoring requirements of the UN and the Council of Europe.
The official representative of the EU in Ukraine also said that "this benchmark of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan stands firmly in place. The EU continues to use its excellent dialogue with Ukrainian political leaders to persuade of the need to adopt legislation that will empower Ukrainian citizens to fully assert their Constitutional right to equality and non-discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
Soon, the Directorate General of the European Commission for Enlargement in agreement with the Ukrainian government plans to organise a special seminar to familiarise Ukrainian politicians and officials with EU experiences to fight against discrimination.