Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch slam anti-gay bill

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Oct. 3, 2012, 7:26 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

A woman sells rainbow flags (LGBT pride flags), during a demonstration to demand the government a law for equal rights for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in Santiago, Chile, on September 29, 2012.

International organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the Ukrainian authorities to reject a bill prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality and introducing criminal liability for the violation of such a ban. 

"Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are calling on the Ukrainian authorities to reject bill No. 8711 on the grounds that this law will limit children's right to seek, receive and transmit information... and will lead to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including the violation of their the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ukraine Tetiana Mazur said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.

She said that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had already asked Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn to withdraw bill No. 8711, which "directly contradicts Ukraine's commitments assumed as part of European and international treaties on the protection of human rights."

As reported, on October 2 the Verkhovna Rada passed at first reading a bill amending some legal documents regarding protection of children's right to safe information space. Some 289 of the 350 MPs registered in the sitting hall supported the bill.

The authors of the draft law propose to introduce responsibility for actions that propagate homosexual relations, abuse of freedom of speech in the printed media, and the propagation of homosexuality on television and radio.

In addition, the authors of the document propose to add to the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on punishments for the import, production or distribution of products propagating violence, cruelty, racial, national or religious intolerance and discrimination a relevant provision on responsibility for the propagation of homosexuality.

The draft law was developed by people's deputies Yevhen Tsarkov (Communist Party parliamentary faction), Kateryna Lukyanova (Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense faction), Pavlo Unhurian (BYT-Batkivschyna faction), Yulia Kovalevska (Regions Party faction), Taras Chornovil (independent deputy), and Lilia Hryhorovych (Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense faction).

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