Ukraine (2nd cycle)
For a summary of Ukraine’s review at the first cycle please click here.
14th UPR session
Date of review: 24 October 2012
Date of report adoption: March 2013
Working Group report: A/HRC/22/x
Recommendations: Withdraw its draft legislation criminalising the promotion of homosexuality, and refrain from adopting any other legislation that restricts freedom of expression; Adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that addresses the worrying trend of incidents based on gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic discrimination.
Status: Pending to HRC22 (March 2013)
I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs
- Reject draft legislation that would restrict freedom of expression by banning “promotion of homosexuality”;
- Take action against hate crimes; include sexual orientation and gender identity in antidiscrimination legislation;
- Remove any excessive requirements in legal gender recognition and ensure quick, transparent and accessible procedures for changing name and gender marker;
- Review the High Commissioner’s report on sexual orientation and gender identity, and consider implementing the recommendations.
Note: recent developments in Ukraine include introduction of draft legislation prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality” – see:
II. Excerpts from input reports
No references to sexual orientation or gender identity
No references to sexual orientation or gender identity
Summary of stakeholder information
II. Information provided by other stakeholders
C. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
1. Equality and non-discrimination
13. JS11 highlighted that the principle of equality was not extended to citizens in the Constitution. JS11 noted the absence of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. Council of LGBT organisations of Ukraine (CLGBT) stated that anti-discrimination provisions were scattered throughout the legal system and lacked effective mechanism for their implementation. JS2 stated that legislation did not provide a definition of discrimination, including direct and indirect discrimination and did not include a comprehensive list of grounds for discrimination. As CoE noted, CoE-ECRI reiterated its recommendation that Ukraine include in the Constitution the right to equality and non- discrimination for all, but not just for citizens. JS11, JS2, CLGBT, Insight and the Council of Europe (CoE) recommended that Ukraine adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law covering all areas of life.
19. HRF highlighted the lack of explicit legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Furthermore, as CLGBT noted, some laws contained discriminatory provisions against LGBT persons. HRF and CLGBT pointed to intolerance towards LGBT persons in society. JS2 referred to reports indicating that LGBT persons experienced direct and indirect discrimination in employment, access to services, education, housing, health care and access to justice. JS2 also pointed to reported high incidence of bias-motivated crimes directed at LGBT individuals and organisations. Insight reported that politicians chose to use homophobia as part of their election platforms in 2010 and 2012.
20. Insight reported that hate crimes towards LGBT people often treated as hooliganism. JS2 stated that LGBT persons were reported to be often victims of police profiling and illegal arrests. CLGBT reported that threats to disclose information about the person‘s sexual orientation to his/her relatives or colleagues were reportedly used by law enforcement bodies to extort money or make LGBT people to admit guilt for crimes they did not commit.
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life
38. Insight reported that legislation did not provide rights to LGBT people to register their partnership, to marry or to adopt children. CLGBT explained that same-sex couples were deprived of any form of legal recognition and of any rights as a family even if they cohabit and de facto constitute a family. Same-sex couples were not allowed to jointly adopt children and legislation did not recognise any parental or custodial rights and obligations for a partner in a same-sex couple in relation to the child of the other partner. Insight concluded that the lack of legal recognition of diverse forms of families resulted in discrimination in a number of areas of life.
III. References to SOGI during the Working Group review
I. Summary of the proceedings of the review process
B. Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under review
19. The Netherlands observed that Ukraine has signed but not ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It welcomed a letter by the Ombudsman to recall draft law No. 8711, as the law might lead to excessive restrictions on freedom of expression. The Netherlands made recommendations.
21. Norway expressed deep concern about instances of selective justice in Ukraine and welcomed the approval of a new criminal procedures code. It appreciated Ukraine’s active stance to integrate minorities. It expressed its concern at legislation under consideration that would explicitly discriminate against LGBT persons and limit their right to freedom of expression. Norway made recommendations.
33. Sweden stated that the new criminal procedure code is a step in the right direction but noted that the need for further reforms to the prosecutor’s office and the independence of the court system, have been identified. Sweden raised concerns over the widespread of cases of police brutality and their impunity; as well as protection of rights of LGBT persons. It encouraged Ukraine to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Sweden made recommendations.
43. Switzerland expressed concern at allegations of torture and ill-treatment by the police as well as the lack of investigations of such cases. It was concerned by the detention and treatment of members of the former government. Switzerland also expressed concern with discriminatory acts on the basis of race and nationality as well as the draft legislation discriminating LGBT persons. It made recommendations.
47. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland noted the reform of the judicial system, including the new Criminal Procedure Code. It highlighted reports of selective justice and serious violations of fundamental legal principles in relation to recent trials. It was concerned by the discrimination of LGBT persons and by the draft Bill 8711. It made recommendations.
48. The United States of America expressed concern at the deterioration of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and widening corruption. It viewed positively the passage of the Criminal Procedure Code. It remained concerned over politically motivated trials, the imprisonment of the opposition, increased pressure on independent media, police abuse, trafficking in persons, discrimination of LGBT persons and the weak asylum system. The United States of America made recommendations.
49. Uruguay noted Ukraine’s cooperation with the universal system of human rights including its mid-term report on UPR implementation and its standing invitation to special procedures. Uruguay referred to the discrimination against LGBT persons. Uruguay made recommendations.
54. Australia was concerned about the deteriorating situation regarding freedoms of assembly and expression and fair judicial process. It welcomed the withdrawal of draft legislation that would have re-criminalized defamation. However, it was deeply concerned about the draft bill outlawing the promotion of homosexuality and the selective and politically-motivated judicial processes applied against opposition figures. Australia made recommendations.
62. Canada remained concerned about prison conditions and asked about measures that were adopted to guarantee detainees’ right to be treated humanely, including steps to strengthen complaints mechanisms. It welcomed steps taken to raise awareness of domestic violence and racism. Canada was concerned about attacks and discrimination against the LGBT community and draft legislation threatening freedom of speech and assembly. Canada made recommendations.
77. Finland welcomed ratification of the CRPD and its optional protocol and amendments to legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities, but was concerned about their effective implementation. It was also concerned about draft legislation criminalizing references to homosexuality in the media or public domain, which would contradict Ukraine’s international human rights obligations. Finland made recommendations.
78. France welcomed measures adopted to respond to allegations of torture and ill-treatment, but noted that they seemed insufficient. It was concerned about increasing violence against persons because of their sexual orientation and at attempts by Parliament to adopt legislation criminalizing the promotion of homosexuality. It was also concerned about pressure exerted on the independent media and journalists. France made recommendations.
79. Germany expressed its appreciation at efforts to implement the recommendations of the first UPR cycle, but remained concerned about continued human rights violations. It encouraged Ukraine to abandon draft legislation criminalizing the promotion of homosexuality and to refrain from other legislation infringing on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT persons. Germany made recommendations.
85. Ireland commended Ukraine on progress achieved in implementing commitments made following the first Universal Periodic Review. It was concerned about the lack of explicit legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations
97. The following recommendations will be examined by Ukraine, which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013:
97.18. Reject any proposed legislation that would restrict freedom of expression relating to sexual orientation (Slovenia) (Norway);
97.19. Withdraw its draft legislation criminalising the promotion of homosexuality, and refrain from adopting any other legislation that restricts freedom of expression (Australia);
97.24. Ensure that legislation, including the proposed Bill 8711, is fully compliant with Ukraine’s international commitments, including under the European Convention for Human Rights (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland);
97.25. Enact legislation that explicitly protects LGBT persons from discrimination and that laws that contain discriminatory provisions against LGBT persons are amended (Ireland);
97.30. Adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that addresses the worrying trend of incidents based on gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic discrimination (Portugal);
97.56. Remove from the legislation discriminatory provisions based on race, sex or sexual orientation, and adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation (Canada);
97.57. Step up the efforts to fight against discrimination by refraining from contradictory legislation and by amending the anti-discrimination legislation to include explicit references to sexual orientation and gender identity as possible grounds of discrimination (Finland);
97.59. Continue its effort to combat discrimination and promote equality in accordance with international treaties establishing guarantees of fundamental human rights and freedoms and equality in the enjoyment of such rights, without privileges or restrictions based on race, colour, political, religious or other belief, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, language or other grounds (Brazil);
97.69. Respect its international commitments on fundamental rights related to non-discrimination, prevent the adoption of a law prohibiting freedom of expression with regards to homosexuality and raise awareness of civil society on combating all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (France);
97.70. Take an active stance to stop any actions or laws that constitute an infringement of the rights of LGBT persons (Sweden);
97.71. Implement the recommendation issued in 2010 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Switzerland);
97.72. Adopt legislative and other measures to correct and prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, and to ensure full respect for freedom of expression and association of LGBT persons (Uruguay);
97.73. Increase efforts to improve the effective protection of LGBT persons, and abandon legislation work on draft law no. 8711 on so called ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and refrain from other legislation infringing on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT persons (Germany);
V. Adoption of the Report
The report of the working group is due to be adopted at the 22nd regular session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013.
VI. Further information
For first cycle reports of Ukraine, please see here
National report 1: A | C | E | F | R | S
Compilation of UN information 2: A | C | E | F | R | S
Summary of stakeholders’ information 3: A | C | E | F | R | S
Corrigendum : A | C | E | F | R | S
Questions submitted in advance : E
Addendum 1 : E
Addendum 2 : E
Addendum 3 : E
Addendum 4 : E
Addendum 5 : E
Report of the Working group: E