You hear about concentration camps for gay men in Chechnya, and laws that criminalize so-called homosexual propaganda, but does this really tell you much about the people living only a short drive away?
In this panel discussion you can meet activists from Murmansk, Moscow and Norway, who will talk about the challenges for LGBTI persons in North-West Russia. Does it differ a lot from the rest of Russia? How different is it really from Norway? How can people cooperate across the border to create a better future?
The activist Valentina Likhoshva and journalist Elena Kostuchenko will share their experiences about working for the rights of LGBTI-persons in North West Russia, and inspire you to become a changemaker in your local community.
Rune Rafaelsen (Labour), mayor of the municipality of Sør-Varanger, and Lene Wetteland, head of the Russia Department in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, will talk about the need for cross-border cooperation and the important role of civil society on both sides of the border in the north.
This debate is part of the project Barents Exchange, which is a cooperation between FRI – Foreningen for kjønns- og seksualitetsmangfold, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Skeiv Verden and Amnesty International Norway. Between thursday 21 and sunday 24 of September – be ready for exhibitions, debates, parties and not the least Solidaritetsparade i Kirkenes, to celebrate diversity and express solidarity between Norwegian and Russian believers in equal rights for all.
Participants in the panel discussion:
• Valentina Likhoshva, psychologist and LGBT-activist. She works at the Regional Group for Support of LGBT Community “Maximum” in Murmansk, Russia.
• Elena Kostuchenko is an investigative reporter for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Elena has been assaulted and arrested on several occasions in retribution for her journalism and activism.
• Lene Wetteland, Senior Adviser and Head of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Russia department.
•Rune Rafaelsen (Labour), mayor of the municipality of Sør-Varanger.
Moderator: Patricia Kaatee, Amnesty International in Norway
The discussion will have Norwegian/Russian translation
For information about everything that will happen in Kirkenes these coming days: