Western envoys call on Ukraine to support LGBTI march
Diplomats to take part in the March for Equality on 12 June.
On 17 May, the ambassadors to Ukraine of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America issued a joint statement on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Their statement reads:
As representatives of the international community and our respective governments in Ukraine, we hereby reaffirm our commitment to the protection of human rights and the right of citizens to peaceful assembly. We also recognize that the values of tolerance and respect for diversity are fundamental to open democratic societies. As such, we collectively urge the police and Kyiv city officials to support and protect the right of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons and their supporters to conduct a March for Equality, planned for 12 June 2016.We also ask that all Ukrainians respect the right of their fellow citizens to peaceful assembly. The same appeal applies to other locations in Ukraine where similar events may be planned.
The theme for this year’s March for Equality emphasizes security as a human right and obligation of the state. Following attacks on similar events over the past year, the international community remains concerned about the safety of LGBTI Ukrainians, their friends, families, and all advocates for tolerance and diversity in Ukraine. The diplomatic community plans to monitor and engage in the march as a reflection of our support for human rights, and we invite members of civil society and businesses to express their support too.
Ukraine has made significant progress in recognizing and protecting human rights, as demonstrated in the National Human Rights Strategy and supporting Action Plan. In particular, protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was an important milestone. We pledge our support to implementation of the Action Plan, including additional steps in the area of anti-discrimination for LGBTI citizens.
We look forward to a peaceful and safe March for Equality and continued progress toward equality for all Ukrainians.
H.E. Luc Jacobs, Ambassador of Belgium
H.E. Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada
H.E. Christian Dons Christensen, Ambassador of Denmark
H.E. Juha Virtanen, Ambassador of Finland
H.E. Isabelle Dumont, Ambassador of France
H.E. Dr. Christof Weil, Ambassador of Germany
H.E. Fabrizio Romano, Ambassador of Italy
H.E. Kees Klompenhouwer, Ambassador of the Netherlands
H.E. Jon Elvedal Fredriksen, Ambassador of Norway
H.E. Andreas von Beckerath, Ambassador of Sweden
H.E. Mr. Guillaume Scheurer, Ambassador of Switzerland
H.E. Judith Gough, Ambassador of the United Kingdom
H.E. Geoffrey Pyatt, Ambassador of the United States of America
Last year, dozens of young people attacked the Equality March in Kyiv. They threw smoke bombs in the crowd and firecrackers, filled with shrapnel. A total of nine police officers were injured during the attack, including one policeman was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the neck. After the march, radicals attacked the participants in the surrounding streets. Fortunately, not gay activists were seriously injured. Thirty-five people were detained, but almost all of them were immediately released.
On 8 April, Kyiv's Obolonskyy district court sentenced four attackers to two years in prison.