WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Joe Crowley (NY-14) and David Cicilline (RI-1) led a bipartisan letter to the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament expressing their concerns about draft Ukrainian laws that violate the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies – specifically the freedoms of assembly and expression.
Currently two discriminatory bills are pending in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament. The bills prohibit “propaganda of same-sex sexual relations.” If passed, the bills would ban sending out positive messages about being gay, whether through materials, the media or public gatherings like parades. For example, the bills could restrict access to accurate information about HIV and AIDS. Violators would face fines and up to six years in prison.
“Ukraine in recent decades has made significant strides and commitments to human rights, but these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell. “This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”
“These proposals are a chilling threat to not only the LGBT community, but all Ukrainian citizens who deserve to live in a society where the fundamental rights of speech, expression, peaceful assembly and equality are protected,” said Rep. Joe Crowley.
“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am deeply disappointed to see some elements of the Ukrainian government supporting discrimination against members of the LGBT community,” said Rep. David Cicilline. “We should never excuse these sorts of regressive proposals, and I look forward to working further to ensure that human rights are fully embraced across the world.”
“The LGBT community in Ukraine has seen a significant increase in targeted violence since the introductions of these bills. With homophobia on the rise in Ukraine, it’s crucial that the legislature protects the rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” said Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor at the Council for Global Equality.