Human Rights Watch has urged the Ukrainian parliament to reject a bill that would censor information about homosexuality in the country.
The private members bill, introduced by several members of parliament, would prohibit providing information about homosexuality to anyone living in Ukraine.
The draft bill says it is aimed at banning what it terms the “propaganda of homosexualism”.
“The bill would deprive everyone in Ukraine of access to essential information to decide about their lives and protect their health,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch.
“The supporters of this bill are not protecting adults or children from harm, as they claim, but rather condemning Ukrainians to ignorance, danger, and fear.”
The organisation said that bill would threaten the health and well-being of Ukrainians, including children, by restricting access to information necessary for them to make critical decisions about their lives.
It could potentially have life-threatening effects by censoring accurate information about HIV and AIDS and would also bar human rights defenders from promoting the protection of rights and from engaging in free discussion about rights principles.
The proposed bill, “On introduction of Changes to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (regarding protection of children’s rights in the safe information sphere), is scheduled for discussion before the end of the year.
According to Human Rights Watch, if enacted, the bill would violate a large number of the international treaty obligations Ukraine has undertaken to respect human rights.
It would violate freedom of expression and the right to information, and would create an unacceptable and unlawful environment of state-promoted discrimination against LGBT people, including those under age 18, said the organisation.