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UN: proposed Ukraine gay propaganda ban violates human rights

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday condemned [press release] a draft law [bill 8711 materials, in Ukrainian] that would ban pro-gay "propaganda" in Ukraine. The OHCHR said that the bill would be open to abuse and that it violates human rights and Ukraine's commitments to anti-discrimination and the protection of minority rights. In its current draft form, the bill authorizes fines and prison sentences of up to five years for "promotion of homosexuality." Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska criticized [Interfax report] the bill for failing to define what exactly "promotion of homosexuality" entails. The bill would also include a criminal provision for importing, producing or distributing documents that both promote homosexuality and, in some way, promote religious intolerance, national intolerance, racism or discrimination, among other offenses.

The Ukrainian parliament gave the bill preliminary approval [JURIST report] earlier this week. The draft law is modeled off of a law in St. Petersburg, Russia [JURIST report] that imposes fines against people convicted of promoting homosexuality, including gays or lesbians who are open about their sexuality. The first conviction [JURIST report] under the law occurred in April, when a gay rights activist was fined for picketing in front of city hall with a sign that said "homosexuality is not perversion." LGBT rights activists continue to challenge the law [JURIST report]. The Russian parliament introduced a similar law [JURIST report] shortly after the St. Petersburg law passed, but it has yet to pass.

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