Head of ZMINA, Tetiana Pechonchyk, called for the adoption of draft law 5488 once again

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On June 20, Freedom House held a conference in Kyiv on Monitoring Hate Crimes Incidents in Ukraine, during which the project coordinators and partners spoke about the key results of monitoring hate crimes incidents in 2020-2024 within the framework of the joint initiative United to Confront Hate-Motivated Violence. ZMINA, in particular, was a partner in this project, and during the conference, advocated for the adoption of draft law 5488.

Photo: Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation

The event was attended by representatives of Ukrainian human rights organisations, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and the National Police. 

Thus, during the presentation of the key results, the LGBT Human Rights NASH SVIT Centre said that they had documented 291 crimes or incidents of homophobia and transphobia between January 2020 and May 2024. In 2019, the organisation recorded 275 such cases. The decrease in documented cases is due, in particular, to the COVID-19 pandemic and the full-scale war, said Oleksandr Zinchenkov, an expert at the LGBT Human Rights NASH SVIT Centre. 

Oleksii Boniuk, the Head of the Department of Criminal Law Policy and Investment Protection at the Prosecutor General’s Office, also said that the number of hate crimes committed by the occupiers in the temporarily occupied regions continues to grow rapidly. In particular, this is due to the fact that the Russians are motivated not only by establishing control over Ukrainian territories, but also by deep-rooted hatred of Ukrainians. 

During a panel discussion on advocacy for political decisions related to the prevention of hate crimes, the head of Human Rights Centre ZMINA, Tetiana Pechonchyk, once again reminded of the importance of adopting draft law 5488, which is registered in the parliament and has long been in need of adoption. This draft law should help to protect victims of discrimination and hate crimes. 

Pechonchyk highlighted a number of activities required to promote and adopt draft faw 5488:

“It is important for all of us to advocate with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the first place to create legislation to properly classify and investigate hate crimes. To do this, we also need to work on a broader educational campaign so that not only people’s deputies know about it, but also the wider population supports it”.

In addition, according to the expert, it is worth drawing public attention to cases of attacks on members of the LGBTIQ+ community, the Roma community and other vulnerable groups.

Tetiana Pechonchyk added that, in particular, there had been previous appeals from the human rights community of Ukraine to international partners to vote for this draft law; the item on its adoption was also included in the list of recommendations of national institutions such as the Office of the Ombudsman of Ukraine. 

The speaker added that, among other things, a broad coalition of organisations that protect vulnerable groups of people and are ready to work together to advocate for this draft law has been created.

“I think this unification is important, because the draft law concerns not only the LGBTIQ+ community, so if you unite different groups, different communities and make it a common demand (adoption of draft law 5488 – ed.) of the broader human rights community, then it improves the chances of adoption”, Pechonchyk noted.

In addition, among the important steps taken to promote the need for the adoption of draft law 5488, a manifesto on the importance of protection against discrimination and intolerance in Ukraine has been published in May this year and presented at international platforms.

The head of ZMINA also added that the media outlet zmina.info regularly carries out information work and covers the situation with hate crimes in Ukraine.