Human rights campaigners fear the election of far right party Svoboda to the Ukraine parliament will ‘encourage’ the passing of an anti-gay ‘propaganda’ bill.
Svoboda, whose name means ‘freedom’ and is linked to France’s National Front, the British National Party and Hungary’s Jobbik, had taken about 9% of the ballot in Sunday’s (28 October) election.
The far-right party, which is accused of homophobia and anti-Semitism, is poised to take 33 out of 450 seats in parliament, having previously only ever held one seat.
Amnesty International fears the extremist group’s surge in popularity will help push through a homophobic law which proposes gagging the media, activists and human rights defenders.
Max Tucker, Amnesty International Ukraine campaigner, told Gay Star News: ‘Svoboda’s leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, has repeatedly made derogatory statements about sexual and ethnic minorities in Ukraine.
‘He has referred to the idea of same-sex marriage as stemming from a group of "perverse and abominable values" and declared his intention to use his party’s position in parliament to oppose such values, in order to cultivate "real Ukrainian national traditional values".
‘Amnesty International is concerned that the existence of such beliefs in parliament will encourage the passage of legislation currently before it, which would criminalise the production or distribution of materials "promoting homosexuality" and make it punishable by up to five years in prison.
‘These laws would violate Ukraine’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the country’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Unfortunately such views are not limited to the Svoboda party, but are in fact widespread in Ukraine.’
A vote earlier this month saw a huge majority of politicians support the bill, which is similar to that passed in St Petersburg in Russia earlier this year.