Arrests and beatings at Ukraine gay human rights protest

A pro human rights event and against homophobia was brutally crushed by police and attacked by far-right groups in Kyiv, Ukraine

Arrests and beatings at Ukraine gay human rights protest
08 December 2012

Several participants were beaten up and six detained during an event to unite all human rights advocates against homophobia and censorship by police and anti-gay far right groups.

The event was held today (8 December) in the country’s captial Kyiv (also known as Kiev) in honor of

International Human Rights Day with title ‘Say NO to legislative violence against human rights!’

About 100 activists gathered in the city center and chanted slogans: ‘Down with the propaganda of homophobia’, ‘No DISCRIMINATION on sexual orientation’, ‘Down with dictatorship , homophobia, censorship ‘ and others.

Initially police arrested some members of a far-right counter demonstration but they were quickly released.

Instead police started to arrest the peaceful pro human rights and anti-homphobic campaigners.

Olena Shevchenko, the head of Ukraine’s main LGBT charity, Insight, has been arrested and awaits court appearance on 13 December.

City authorities and local police accused her in organizing an unauthorized action, dispite an application being filed with city hall well before the action was taken.

Speaking with GSN Shevchenko stated: ‘We believe that this situation proves once again that the legislative violence implemented by discriminatory laws actually leads to physical violence by right-radical groups.

‘The current government uses formal occasions to restrict the right to peaceful protest.

‘We believe that the decision of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv is one that is accepted in violation of substantive and procedural law.

‘The public is outraged about legislative initiatives of Members of Parliament (MPs) who are trying to limit the rights of citizens of Ukraine.

‘Today MPs vote for censorship and to silence about LGBT people.

‘Now they come for LGBT people, and tomorrow will come from others.

‘We cannot silently watch this.

‘We have the right to protection against discrimination!’

In October, the Ukraine Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new law which would ban ‘propaganda’ about homosexuality.

It introduces administrative and criminal liability for the importing, manufacturing and distributing products that ‘promote’ homosexuality.

Campaigners say that as the law does not define the concept of ‘propaganda’, it leaves room for arbitrary interpretation, abuse and sanctions against the media, civil society activists and human rights defenders.

Omar Kuddus, an LGBT rights advocated based in the UK commented to GSN: ‘It is unfortunate that Ukrainian activists have to be fearful for their safety.

‘It is unacceptable that the government and the authorities do not protect activists who dedicate themselves for the betterment of others situations.

‘Ukraine’s legislation anti-gay propaganda law clearly violates the most basic of human rights’.

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