June 25, 2022
Sent on behalf of the Embassies of Australia, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine.
On the occasion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Pride Month, we express our unwavering support for this year’s joint Kyiv/Warsaw Pride events and the march which takes place today in Warsaw in the tragic context of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. In so doing, we reaffirm that whom you love should not be the basis of oppression, discrimination or harassment. The principle of equality, a cornerstone of democratic values, foresees that human rights are inherent to all human beings, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender or other characteristics. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights the specific risks faced by LGBTIQ in a conflict context, whether as displaced civilians or as combatants and defenders of Ukraine.
As Ukraine’s EU perspective grows more substantial, we welcome the steps taken by Ukraine to continue to embed human rights values in its policies and laws. The ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (‘Istanbul Convention’) on 21 June is a welcome step in this direction. The Convention is the leading instrument globally to protect women and girls from the scourge of domestic and intimate partner abuse and protects everyone from gender-based violence. That is a struggle that goes hand in hand with the fight against harassment and oppression based on sexual orientation. Both are rooted in the equal dignity of all, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
While we welcome the progress represented by the Istanbul Convention ratification, we also urge Ukraine to continue undertaking all the necessary reforms in line with its democratic aspirations. In recent years, Ukrainian law enforcement institutions have improved their capacity to safeguard the rights of LGBTIQ Ukrainians to advocate for equal enjoyment of their human rights. Nevertheless, this community is still exposed to hate crimes and other violations. At times, values of inclusion and tolerance are still suppressed in the public debate. Being faced with Russia’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression, Ukraine will be even stronger if all voices are heard and all Ukrainians participate equally in defending and rebuilding their country.
Whomever you love and whatever your gender, the principle of non-discrimination and the equal dignity of all breach no compromise. That is why we support this march – and other Pride events – this and every year. We will continue to do so and support Ukraine on human rights for all, even in these most challenging times. Let us continue this walk together.