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We, as members of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and activists dedicated to safeguarding the human rights of internally displaced persons, people with disabilities, migrants, national and ethnic communities, LGBTIQ+ people, and other vulnerable groups, have come together to issue this statement.

It represents our collective effort towards an inclusive society, free from crimes motivated by intolerance, where responses to instances of discrimination based on any characteristic will be effective and prompt. To achieve this goal, aligning Ukrainian legislation with international standards on preventing and combating discrimination and enhancing accountability for hate crimes is crucial.

 

Three years ago, on May 13, 2021, to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the Draft Law No. 5488 was introduced by the Government, aimed at enhancing the framework for addressing instances of discrimination and investigating crimes motivated by intolerance. Despite receiving a favorable assessment from the specialized parliamentary committee, inclusion of Draft Law No. 5488 in the agenda of the current parliamentary session, and its recognition as a necessary for European integration, the Ukrainian Parliament has yet to deliberate on it.


However, it is this draft law that aims to establish a definition of ‘intolerance’ encompassing multiple protected grounds, such as race, skin color, political and religious beliefs, gender, age, disability status, ethnic and social origin, citizenship, marital and property status, sexual orientation, gender identity, place of residence, language, and other relevant grounds. The commission of an offense motivated by intolerance based on these characteristics is considered an aggravating circumstance, which enhances accountability. This will allow for the proper consideration of intolerance as a motive during the pre-trial investigation and judicial proceedings in court.

 

The adoption of Draft Law No. 5488 will establish a new, effective mechanism for holding individuals accountable for acts of discrimination. It introduces the possibility of administrative liability for various manifestations and forms of discrimination, leading to a significant improvement in the speed and quality of responses to such violations. This will provide a sense of protection for many citizens who experience discrimination.

 

Simultaneously, adoption of a draft law No. 5488 plays an essential role in fulfilling Ukraine’s obligations to the European Union. Specifically, it addresses the implementation of Council Decision 2008/913/JHA of November 28, 2008, aimed at combating racism and xenophobia through criminal law. The adoption anti-discrimination legislation is recognized as a priority task. The European Commission, in its Enlargement Report, noted that Ukrainian legislation in the field of combating crimes motivated by intolerance does not include characteristics of sexual orientation and gender identity, though this is recommended by the European Commission against racism and intolerance as a priority .

 

We urge the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to promptly adopt Draft Law No. 5488 “On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of Ukraine Regarding Combating Discrimination” in the first reading, and ensure its further refinement and adoption in the second reading.

We are confident that to establish an effective mechanism for responding to cases of discrimination and investigating crimes motivated by intolerance, the state should focus its efforts on:

  • Reducing manifestations of discrimination based on ethnicity, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other grounds.
  • Proper response and effective investigation of hate crimes, including homophobia and transphobia.
  • Training law enforcement officials on prevention and response to hate crimes.
  •     Initiating and supporting international cooperation with countries experienced in combating discrimination and hate crimes to exchange best practices and enhance the effectiveness of Ukrainian legislation.

Sign

Gender Stream

Human Rights Centre ZMINA

NGO Fulcrum UA

Insight public organization

Theatre for Change Civic Organization

LGBT Human Rights Nash Svit Center

Charitable Foundation «Stabilization Support Services»

NGO “Civil Holding “Group of Influence”

Civil Society Organization FIGHT FOR RIGHT

Charitable Foundation “Insha”

NGO “Article 0”

Platform of public associations “Rizni.Rivni”

Liza Kuzmenko, Head of Women in Media NGO

KYIVPRIDE NGO

CF Gender Zed

Women Association Sphere NGO 

Ukrainian LGBT+ Military for Equal Rights

UKRAINIAN LEGAL AID FOUNDATION

NGO “Incubator of Democratic Initiatives”

Public Organization “SPECTRUM KHARKIV”

NGO “Gay Forum of Ukraine”

Public Organization “Donbass SOS”

Roma Women’s Fund “Chiricli”

Expert resource Gender in detail

Vis NGO

Pylyp Orlyk Institute of Democracy

Truth Hounds

ALLIANCE.GLOBAL, Public Organization

LGBT Association ‘LIGA’

Initiative “Feminist Lodge”

The Right to Protection Charitable Foundation

Danish Refugee Council

Social Action Centre

KRF Public Alternative

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