European Commission moves Ukraine closer to visa-free travel
In a report to the European Council and the European Parliament today, the European Commission announced that Ukraine will move to the second phase of the Visa-Liberalisation process. ILGA-Europe recognizes efforts made by the Ukrainian government in recent months to strengthen anti-discrimination protection and welcomes the European Commission’s efforts to speed-up efforts that should eventually lead to visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to the EU. At the same time, ILGA-Europe expresses concern about the potential danger that the Ukrainian government will not be able to implement its commitments around strengthening anti-discrimination mechanisms. As noted in the Commission’s progress report it is now time to ensure that the relevant law enforcement bodies are equipped and resourced to implement standards. The Ukrainian government will also need to ensure that the orders it issued to strengthen legal protection mechanism will be duly implemented. In this context, ILGA-Europe welcomes the public commitment of the Ukrainian government to explicitly prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the upcoming reform of the labour code and is looking forward to see tangible results in this area in the coming period.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said: “We welcome the European Commission’s will to continue working together with Ukrainian authorities to strengthen the legal system to make a real difference to those Ukrainian citizens who are being discriminated. The Ukrainian government should ensure that the judiciary system is adequately resourced and educated, and it should demonstrate that reforms lead to effective implementation of human rights standards in the field of non-discrimination. The defence of human rights also requires political leaders to publicly speak out about human rights for all. The Ukrainian government has to show during the second phase of the visa liberalisation process that it is ready to couple the development of laws with public leadership in this area.”