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Appeal to Presidents, Governments and Parliaments of Eastern Europe
by the international conference "Our world: equality and cooperation"
(Kiev, Ukraine, October 19-21, 2000)

Eastern Europe is pursuing a course of constructing democratic states. Observance of the human and civil rights of citizens is a state's chief responsibility. Some of our countries still trail behind the more developed countries of Eastern Europe in the spheres of economics, social security and construction of a legal state. But, at least in word, all countries have declared their intention to approximate the contemporary standards and to be integrated into the modern democratic community.

It is impermissible in a jural state to ignore and violate the rights and interests of any social group. Gays and lesbians have the same rights as other members of society and are entitled to equal protection by law. The ban on discrimination on any grounds is confirmed in the General Declaration of Human Rights, the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, and in other international documents. Furthermore, member states of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women pledged themselves to "change social and cultural patterns of behavior for eradication of prejudice, customs and all kinds of other practices based on the idea of inferiority or advantage of either sex, or on a stereotypical role of a man and a woman" (article 5 of the Convention). The Council of Europe drew attention to implementation of these obligations. In its recommendation 1474 (2000) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called on its member states to take all measures for eliminating the existing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in national systems of legislation, including introduction of registered partnership for same-sex couples; to take all measures in the struggle with homophobia existing in state, educational and law-enforcement bodies, jurisdiction, etc.; to unfold a wide public information campaign aimed at debunking of ungrounded fears and prejudice.

Guided by the principles of universality and indivisibility of human rights, exercising our equal rights as people and citizens (rights confirmed by international human rights standards and Consititutions of East European countries), proceeding from the necessity of building tolerant free society, we appeal to the Presidents, governments and parliaments of East Euopean countries with these demands:

  • to repeal legislative acts that are discriminative in regard to people with homosexual preferences;
  • to take measures for development and implementation of educational programs aimed at overcoming homophobia in state and law-enforcement bodies, the armed forces and educational institutions;
  • to envision measures in the state information policy aimed at the creation of a tolerance atmosphere in society towards people of homosexual orientation;
  • to amend marriage legislation with the purpose of legalization of partnership for gays and lesbians.

We regard as impermissible homophobic and often grossly ignorant statements by some state, political, public and religious figures in our countries. We call for a considered and responsible approach to finding solutions for the problems of citizens of homosexual orientation. We call on you not to delay the solutions of these problems, but to prove your commitment to contemporary European values in deeds as well as in words.

We, representatives of lesbian&gay human rights and other organizations in nine states of Eastern Europe, believe that the issues of achieving genuine equality and the protection of the interests of people of homosexual orientation are topical and vital problem issues, in the general process of democratization of our countries. We call on everybody, on whom solutions to these issues depend, to display understanding, wisdom and good will. As full-fledged citizens of our countries, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals ought to meet with the very this attitude on the part of those in the majority who determine now the future of new Europe.

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