Annual Review 2011

2011


Bias motivated violence

  • A group of teenagers in camouflage and masks interrupted a presentation given by a registered LGBT Christian organisation; the group of teenagers released fire rockets, made death threats and shouted homophobic slogans. They left quickly when they spotted television and press representatives. Criminal proceedings were stalled on the grounds that the attackers could not be identified although the Head of the Centre claimed the police had sufficient information to identify the person who brought the attackers to the event.
  • During the summer, a man arranged a date online and went to meet the individual on the outskirts of Luhansk. He went with the person to a rural area where they met four other people whereupon he was subjected to homophobic insults and threats before being severely beaten and robbed. His front teeth were knocked out, and he suff ered a broken rib and dislocated arm. After reporting the incident in writing, he was visited by a police officer in hospital and was forced to withdraw his complaint. Human rights defenders state that this was not an isolated case in Luhansk.
  • In July, a man living in Kremenchug (Poltava Region) had homophobic graffiti inciting to murder painted on his building’s entrance and front door. Two weeks later, his neighbours beat him up in his apartment whilst shouting homophobic abuse. He was hospitalised with a head injury. He decided not to pursue the case for fear of having his sexual orientation made public.
  • In July, a married man arranged a date with someone from a dating site, and met him at an apartment. At some stage, the date left and came back with two uniformed officers who proceeded to insult the man because of his sexual orientation, and threatened to expose his activities to his wife and work colleagues unless he paid them to keep quiet. He paid them the requested amount.
  • In November 2010, at a screening and discussion of Boys don’t Cry organised by Insight NGO, on the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a group of 10 masked men attacked the event, beating three people and releasing tear gas which aff ected everyone present. The police initially qualified the incident as hooliganism rather then a hate crime and did not undertake an investigation. Insight successfully challenged the police handling of the case and it remained under investigation throughout 2011.

Employment

During the summer, an employee at a car wash confided in a colleague that he was gay. The colleague informed the rest of the staff and he was harassed and abused but refused to leave his job until they threatened to tell his parents, at which point, he resigned. The employer refused to pay him for his fi nal month, and as he was employed unofficially, he could not take action against the employer.

Equality and non-discrimination

  • A National Plan of Action adopted within the context of conditionality discussions with the EU did not include discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The government maintained that these grounds are included under other grounds and refused to include them specifi cally in a variety of anti- discrimination provisions.
  • A practice that requires law enforcement agencies to register and report on the number of gay men as belonging to the group of those at high risk of contracting HIV is officially said to have been cancelled since 2008. However, questions from LGBT organisations as to the collection and storage of personal data of LGBT people, including private information, fi ngerprints and photographs were met with vague statements from the Ministry concerned. Reference was made to current collection principles but there is no access to information about previously collected and stored data and organisations expressed concern about the misuse of existing data as well as the lack of transparency which permits future unbridled collection of private data.
  • A survey conducted by Nash Mir among LGBT people online found that 61% of respondents confi rmed that they had had their rights violated or had been discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in the previous three years. The survey covered bias motivated violence, harassment in the workplace or educational institution, denial of access to goods and services, blackmail and bullying by law enforcement personnel, harassment and denial of confidentiality in healthcare provision.

Freedom of assembly

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day, on 8 March, a large feminist rally took place in Kiev with one of the main organisers being an LGBT organisation. Hundreds of human rights defenders gathered for the event in Independence Square. They faced a large counter demonstration from organisations opposed to LGBT people.

Freedom of expression

In June, six Members of Parliament covering all main political parties submitted a draft law supposedly protecting “the right of children to a safe information environment. ”This draft law included “promotion of homosexuality” or “production/distribution of products which promote homosexuality” to (i) an existing list of prohibited activities relating to public morals; (ii) regulation of media publishing; and (iii) the Criminal Code. If adopted, the law would stipulated an imprisonment of up to five years and would criminalise the so-called “cult of homosexualism”. The bill was criticised by the European Parliament and a variety of organisations, but continued to advance through the legislative process. The accompanying explanatory note states that “the spread of homosexualism is a threat to national security, as it leads to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS and destroys the institution of family and can cause a demographic crisis.” The draft law was pending at the end of 2011.

Public opinion

A survey initiated by Nash Mir Center found that more than 50% of Ukrainians think there should be some restrictions on the rights of those who “have a homosexual orientation” compared to other citizens of Ukraine. Those whose answers demonstrated more positive support for the principle of full civil equality for gay and lesbian citizens were respondents who were personally acquainted with a gay man or lesbian and those with higher levels of education.

Sexual and reproductive rights

A draft proposal to change the definition of spouses in provisions relating to surrogacy to be exclusively “one man and one woman” was adopted, impliedly as part of the State’s obligation to “protect the child from all forms of violence” under Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The change in Article 123 specifies that “(2) If an ovum conceived by the spouses (man and woman) is implanted to another woman, the spouses shall be the parents of the child.”

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