Ukraine and Albania urged to protect LGBT+ people from hate and discrimination

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06/03/2020

Ukraine should reform its laws to combat homophobic hate crimes and Albania should give more rights to same-sex couples and trans people, a top European rights body said on Wednesday, amid a backlash against LGBT+ rights in Eastern Europe. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), part of the Council of Europe, renewed a call it made in 2017 for Ukraine to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. “Unless you insert it in criminal code, police will not look for that as a motive for hatred or discrimination,” Maria Daniella Marouda, chairwoman of the ECRI told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. Ukraine’s Permanent Mission to the Council of Europe did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest human rights report by the ECRI, which it issues regularly to monitor progress among its 47 member states. Discrimination against LGBT+ people in the workplace was outlawed in 2015 and Ukraine has increased support for the community in recent years in a bid to move closer to the European Union, but advocates say homophobia remains widespread.

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