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Concluding Observations, CCPR/C/UKR/CO/7, 23 July 2013: Ukraine

8. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Law on principles of preventing and combating discrimination as well as the proposed amendments relating inter alia to a reversed burden of proof in civil proceedings and recognition of sexual orientation as a protected ground in the Labour Code. Nonetheless, the Committee is concerned that sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly included in the non-exhaustive list of grounds of protection in the anti-discrimination law, and that the law provides for insufficient remedies (only compensation for material and moral damage) to victims of discrimination (arts. 2 and 26).

The State party should further improve its anti-discrimination legislation to ensure adequate protection against discrimination in line with the Covenant and other international human rights standards. The State party should explicitly list sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited grounds for discrimination and provide victims of discrimination with effective and appropriate remedies, taking due account of the Committee’s general comment No. 31 (2004) on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant. It should also ensure that those responsible for discrimination bear administrative, civil and criminal responsibility in appropriate cases.

10. The Committee is concerned at reports of discrimination, hate speech and acts of violence directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and violation of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. It is further concerned at reports that according to Ministry of Health order No. 60 of 3 February 2011 “On the improvement of medical care to persons requiring a change (correction) of sex”, transgender persons are required to undergo compulsory confinement in a psychiatric institution for a period up to 45 days and mandatory corrective surgery in the manner prescribed by the responsible Commission as a prerequisite for legal recognition of their gender. The Committee also expresses its concern at two draft laws “on propaganda of homosexuality” introduced in Parliament: (1) No. 1155 “On the prohibition of propaganda of homosexual relations aimed at children” and (2) No. 0945 on “Introduction of Changes to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (regarding protection of children’s rights in a safe information environment)” that, if adopted, would run counter to the State party’s obligations under the Covenant (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 17, 19, 21 and 26).

While acknowledging the diversity of morality and cultures internationally, the Committee recalls that all States parties are always subject to the principles of universality of human rights and non-discrimination. The State party should therefore state clearly and officially that it does not tolerate any form of social stigmatization of homosexuality, bisexuality or transexuality, or hate speech, discrimination or violence against persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The State party should provide effective protection to LGBT persons and ensure the investigation, prosecution and punishment of any act of violence motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It should also take all necessary measures to guarantee the exercise in practice of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly of LGBT persons and defenders of their rights. The State party should also amend order No. 60 and other laws and regulations with a view to ensuring that: (1) the compulsory confinement of persons requiring a change (correction) of sex in a psychiatric institution for up to 45 days is replaced by a less invasive measure; (2) any medical treatment should be provided in the best interests of the individual with his/her consent, should be limited to those medical procedures that are strictly necessary, and should be adapted to his/her own wishes, specific medical needs and situation; (3) any abusive or disproportionate requirements for legal recognition of a gender reassignment are repealed. The Committee finally urges the State party not to permit the two draft bills “on propaganda of homosexuality” to become law.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CCPR-Ukraine-2013-eng