Joint Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

May 17, 2020

By the Ambassadors and Heads of Missions to Ukraine of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Delegation of the European Union, Denmark, European Union Advisory Mission, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, we once again reiterate our strong commitment to equality for all, including the human right to freedom from discrimination.

In recent years Ukraine has undertaken a number of reforms to address the matters of equality and non-discrimination, passed legislation and created institutions to protect fundamental human rights. Ukrainian parliamentarians and members of the government have become more open to engage in a dialogue with representatives of various civil society organizations and human rights defenders. This lays a foundation for a nation-wide dialogue which builds on Ukraine’s international commitments to adhere to democratic principles and values, and to protect, promote and fulfill human rights for all its citizens. In recent years, Ukrainian law enforcement institutions have improved significantly their capacity to safeguard the right of LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) Ukrainians, their friends and families, to advocate for their equal enjoyment of human rights. We encourage Ukraine to build on this success and continue providing all the necessary support for such initiatives in the future.

However, LGBTIQ persons in Ukraine remain exposed to discrimination and even violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, as we saw in recent cases of hate crimes and violation of their rights. The new reality of a global pandemic and the need for confinement due to COVID19 has caused a significant increase in the cases of threats, harassment and violence against persons in vulnerable situations including LGBTIQ persons. We are also concerned by the fact that the values of inclusion and tolerance are sometimes attacked in the Ukrainian debate. While we recognize the rights of everyone to express their views in a healthy democratic society, Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic journey comes along with full protection and promotion of human dignity, equal enjoyment of human rights and equal opportunities for everyone. We remain committed to supporting Ukraine’s reform agenda, and we stand with LGBTIQ Ukrainians, their families and civil society organizations.

We continue to call on Ukraine to fully implement the National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan, and undertake steps to ensure that comprehensive anti-discrimination measures are enacted. We also support the aspiration by the Ukrainian women’s and LGBTIQ organizations for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, signed by Ukraine in 2011. We believe that full implementation of this convention will enhance the protection of women and LGBTIQ persons in Ukraine.