Kiev Pride 2013
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is present in Kiev during the Kiev Pride 2013. Ahead of the Pride March, Queer Youth Norway and LLH - Norwegian LGBT Association jointly with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to the Ukrainian Embassador to Norway, Yurii Onischenko, expressing concern over the reports that the Pride might be banned by the Kiev City Administration. Read the letter below.
Despite a ban by a local court, more than a hundred LGBT rights activists held the first gay pride demonstration in the capital of Kiev on Saturday 25 May. The event was relatively peaceful despite the attempts by approximately 600 individuals to disrupt the occasion.
Ambassador Yurii Onischenko
Arbins Gate 4,
Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiev Pride 2013
Dear Mr Ambassador,
Oslo, 23 May 2013: The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Queer Youth Norway and LLH - Norwegian LGBT Association are deeply concerned that Kiev Pride 2013, which is planned to be held on 25 May, might be banned by the Kiev City Administration. Such a ban would be a clear violation on freedom of assembly and expression for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons (LGBTI).
Dear Mr Ambassador, we ask you to bring up this matter of concern as soon as possible with relevant authorities in Ukraine.
A so-called Pride Parade has never been organized in Ukraine. Last year, the planned Parade was cancelled by the organizers when they realized that the police was not able- nor willing -to provide necessary security measures to meet the massive threats of violence from anti-gay protesters. There were several attacks on the organizers themselves, without a pursuant proper investigation or prosecutions of the perpetrators.
Banning this year’s parade or failing to provide necessary protection for its participants, would reward the groups and individuals who commit and encourage hate violence against LGBTI persons. Hate crime and homophobia are on the rise in Ukraine in general, such as the murder of Armen Ovcharuk in October. Ovcharuk was attacked when leaving a gay club.
The Ukrainian parliament is in the process of adapting legislation which would criminalize everything that can be classified as so-called "homosexual propaganda". A person convicted of such actions may face imprisonment of up to 5 years. Such legislation would institutionalize the homophobia which is very much present in the Ukrainian society, and without doubt leading to systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of an already very vulnerable group.
Mr Ambassador, we encourage you to do everything in your powers ensure that the Kiev Pride 2013 will receive all necessary permissions, be permitted, and that proper protection of its participants will be ensured.
We also ask that efforts to adopt legislation preventing so-called «homosexual propaganda» are terminated, and rather to introduce proper anti-discrimination legislation that will improve the rights of LGBTI-persons before the law.
We extend our full support to the organizers of Kiev Pride, and wish Ukraine good luck with the events in the days to come.
With kind regards,
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Åshild Marie Winge
Queer Youth Norway
LLH - Norwegian LGBT Association