Ukraine finally passes historic LGBT non-discrimination law

Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s  parliament

Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament

Following multiple votes and much controversy, Ukraine has finally approved a bill barring LGBT discrimination in the workplace.

The legislation is the first LGBT-affirming law to be passed in the country and is seen as an important step in moving the nation away from its Soviet past.

The bill was twice earlier rejected by lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) as recently as last week.

It amends the Labour Code to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law, however, was not passed simply due to the goodwill of legislators; it was a requirement for the country to be allowed visa-free travel within the European Union.

The move was nevertheless seen as historic and a victory for the LGBT community.

“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,” commented ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, also welcomed the news. “I congratulate the Verkhovna Rada for adopting this important anti-discrimination clause, which sends a message of hope to the LGBTI community in Ukraine,” she said.

“It is clear that cooperation with the EU is based on shared values and the protection of human rights. This is a positive signal both to the people of Ukraine and to the citizens of the EU.”

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