Back Strengthening Inclusion in Ukraine: Council of Europe and European Union as key partners of institutions in advocating for LGBTQI+ Rights

Strengthening Inclusion in Ukraine: Council of Europe and European Union as key partners of institutions in advocating for LGBTQI+ Rights

On May 17, a meeting of the Council for Human Rights, Gender Equality and Diversity (Council) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine was held in Kyiv. The Council addressed critical issues, including the fight against discrimination and hate crimes, and the protection of LGBTQI+ rights in Ukraine.

The discussions featured participation from state and non-state actors, CSOs and representatives of the diplomatic corps. They focused on increasing awareness among Ukrainian parliamentarians and authorities about the civil rights of vulnerable groups, particularly the LGBTI community, in line with European standards. Key topics included the importance of the draft law 9103 for the LGBTI community, since dealing with their civil partnerships. It was underlined that this will have positive impact in specific for LGBTI military personnel. Further, public involvement in legislative processes and implementing bills of relevance to the LGBTI community was discussed, and the need for monitoring the implementation of laws to foster an inclusive society.

In his opening remarks, Erlend Falch, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, praised the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss LGBTI rights in an open and inclusive manner, emphasizing the importance of advancing in legislative efforts on non-discrimination and adherence to European standards. He notably mentioned the recommendations from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),  and highlighted the Council of Europe's commitment to supporting effective measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"We have a lot of work to do to bring the legislation closer to European standards in protecting the rights of communities, in particular LGBTIQ+ and other vulnerable population groups in Ukraine," Oleksandr Kornienko, First Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, said during his speech. "Society is already making demands and conducting discussions on these issues. We continue to work with the Council of Europe and other partners on these important topics."

Additionally, the meeting referenced significant judgments of the ECtHR such as Maymulakhin and Markiv v. Ukraine and Karter v. Ukraine. These decisions underscore the necessity for Ukraine to enhance its legal protections against discrimination. The Maymulakhin and Markiv case, which dealt with the denial of equal rights and protection to same-sex couples, highlights the need for Ukraine to align its domestic laws with European human rights standards. The Karter case further stresses the importance of comprehensive legal safeguards for the LGBTI community, focusing on issues such as hate crimes and the state's duty to provide protection and legal recourse. These cases were discussed as benchmarks for Ukraine to improve its legislative framework and ensure the protection of civil rights for all its citizens.

The event was organised by the joint European Union and Council of Europe project "Supporting the Implementation of European Standards on Combating Discrimination and the Rights of National Minorities in Ukraine" in close partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the NGO "Fulcrum UA".

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Kyiv, Ukraine 24 May 2024
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