LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Greater protection for LGBTI citizens as Ukraine finally approves anti-discrimination clause

Sexual orientation and gender identity have been included as protected grounds in the anti-discrimination section of Ukraine’s Labour Code.

This important milestone for LGBTI people in Ukraine was reached when 234 members of the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, voted to add the anti-discrimination clause to the Code earlier today (Thursday, 12 November). This was the third time that the provision was considered by parliamentarians this month, having been rejected last week.

Speaking after the vote, ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said: “In the LGBTI movement, we talk about ‘change’ a lot and sometimes it can sound vague or unachievable. Today, we have witnessed great change in Ukraine. This result is a victory for the LGBTI community and ILGA-Europe send our congratulations to those parliamentarians who voted in favour of human rights and fundamental freedoms today.”

“The vote was not just about visa liberalisation, it could be the start of a new chapter of engagement on the rights of LGBTI people in Ukraine. Now, the work of the Ukrainian government enters a critical phase; they have an obligation to ensure that the Code is implemented in its entirety” commented Evelyne Paradis.

“As the country continues to liaise with the European Commission on its visa liberalisation action plan, we also hope that the EU makes sure that its own human rights obligations operate in practice and not just on paper.”

The anti-discrimination clause had been one of the legislative measures required by the European Union before visa-free travel arrangements would be opened to Ukraine. Civil society organisations, including LGBTI activists, had demonstrated outside the parliament following previous unsuccessful votes.