LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe statement on hate crime targeting LGBTI people in Ukraine

ILGA-Europe have received alarming reports of attacks by right-wing extremists targeting the 2017 Equality Festival that is currently taking place in Zaporizhia. 

The event is organised by the LGBTI organisation Insight and has been operating under challenging circumstances for several years.

On 30 September, approximately 200 masked people gathered at the Equality Festival venue and threatened the event organisers and participants. During this attack, two women were injured and required hospitalisation.

ILGA-Europe are calling on the EU to hold the Ukrainian authorities accountable to the far-reaching human rights obligations they have voluntarily committed to as part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

The perpetrators are being prosecuted – although the police have charged the individuals in question with ‘ordinary hooliganism’, as opposed to investigating their actions as hate crimes.

This recent incident is the latest in a disturbing trend of organised hate-motivated violence against the LGBTI community in Ukraine, incidents that are compounded by not being thoroughly investigated.

Among the incidents ILGA-Europe are aware of are:

  • attacks against participants of an LGBTI event by LiGA in Mykolaiv on 8 September;
  • attacks against a lecture on gender identity on 9 July in Kyiv;  
  • an LGBTI anti-discrimination manifestation on 17 Mayin Kharkiv;
  • and a street action on 6 May in Zaporizhia.

Ukrainian law enforcement officials must commence a proper investigation (of the violence at the Zaporizhia Equality Festival and other similar incidents), that takes account of the hate motivation.

ILGA-Europe also calls on the EU to use its influence to ensure full implementation of Ukraine’s National Human Rights Action Plan, including passing amendments to existing hate crime legislation to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as aggravating circumstances and ensure that fundamental rights are upheld throughout Ukraine.