Gay gag law proposed in Ukraine

Ukrainian parliament to vote on law banning 'promotion' of LGBT issues, criminalizing media coverage and work of gay rights groups

Gay gag law proposed in Ukraine
21 May 2012

An anti-gay ‘propaganda’ bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, has been proposed in the Ukraine.

The bill, which was recommended to the country’s parliament by the Committee on Freedom of Expression and Information, would amend existing laws on ‘the protection of morals’, media and publishing, as well as the criminal code, effectively banning virtually all information on gay and bisexual issues and criminalizing LGBT human rights work in Ukraine.

Such activities would become punishable by steep fines or imprisonment for up to five years.

A vote on the bill could take place as soon as this week.

ILGA-Europe, the international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, says it has ‘severe concerns’ about the proposed law amendments.

Björn van Roozendaal, ILGA-Europe programmes director, said: ‘This law is in clear contradiction with non-discrimination principles and the right to freedom of expression and information.

‘Reasoning of such laws is sadly based on myths rather than facts. Drafters of such laws falsely assume that the work of human rights defenders is threatening religions and children.

‘In addition, the position that human rights defenders and media would "promote homosexuality" is wrong and holds not truth. It just stigmatizes the community and undermines human rights standards.’

ILGA-Europe claims the law could lead to ‘discretionary prosecutions’ where a journalist writing about gay bashing may not be charged but a a street vendor selling an international newspaper covering a story on LGBT rights would be fined or arrested.

Mr Roozendaal called on the Ukrainian parliament to vote against the draft law and urged the Council of Europe, the EU and the UN to condemn the bill.

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