De Jong: no visa liberalisation with homophobic Ukraine

5 October 2012

De Jong: no visa liberalisation with homophobic Ukraine

The SP is urging that the proposed liberalisation of visa controls between the EU and Ukraine be stopped as a response to the latter’s homophobic laws. Newly introduced laws mean that people and organisations who give positive information or counselling on homosexuality can be sentenced to up to five years in prison. 'Europe must continue to take a firm stand for human rights,’ says De Jong. ‘A Ukrainian government which tramples over the rights of homosexuals should not be rewarded with a liberalised visa system.’

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, along with MEPs from a number of different political groups, has put a series of questions on the matter to the European Commission. 'Proposals from the EU to go ahead with the visa liberalisation can thankfully count on meeting a great deal of opposition,’ says De Jong. ‘Pressure from the European Parliament is important for the debate in Ukraine and for various other Eastern European countries where these sorts of laws are becoming ever more popular. The EU can’t turn a blind eye to this any longer and must take action so that those defending human rights know that they aren’t alone in their struggle.’

The questions to the Commission have been signed by MEPs from the cross-party working group for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, of which Dennis de Jong is one of the vice-chairs.

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