Authorities should protect KyivPride 2017

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect Kyiv Pride Week, which will be organized June 9 to 18, 2017. An important part of the program will be the KyivPride March on 18 June, a manifestation in support of fundamental human rights and freedom from violence for Lesbian, Gay, Bi- Trans- and Intersex persons (LGBTI) in Ukraine.

-This is an opportunity for Ukrainian authorities to demonstrate their commitment to human rights and democratic values. The police should prove that they are able and willing to protect the safety of Ukrainian citizens, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the NHC.

On 29 May 2017, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent letters to the Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klytchko and the Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The letters urged that they extend their full support for KyivPride Week and march and take all necessary measures to support and safeguard the event.

The organizing committee’s work to organize events such as this the last six years has been challenging and even dangerous at times. There is a high level of public resistance against the LGBTI population and a determination from hate groups to prevent LGBTI events.

– It is important that responsible politicians and public officials show that they fully support initiatives that contribute to an open and inclusive society, says Mina Skouen, Senior Advisor on LGBTI in the NHC. – There have been some reassuring examples of Ukrainian authorities and law enforcement agencies providing protection and responding to violence against LGBTI events in an adequate manner. Unfortunately, in several cases they failed to do so as well.

In our letters, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee urges key Ukrainian institutions to:

– Declare full support for the event and raise the issue publicly,

– Ensure that all events will be carried out in a peaceful and safe manner,

– Ensure that there will be no impunity for homophobic and transphobic acts.

The letters can be found here and here.