RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights, is deeply concerned with the violent attack in Kiev against a peaceful rally dedicated to the Transgender Day of Remembrance. RFSL urges the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the incident and take proactive steps towards protecting the fundamental right to a peaceful assembly as well as the safety of peaceful demonstrators.
A peaceful march dedicated to the Transgender Day of Remembrance was planned to be held in Kiev on November 18th. The rally, however, did not take place as planned due to the mobilisation of ultra-right groups. The ultra-right groups blocked the way preventing the marchers to proceed and attacked them with tear gas, smoke bombs and fists. Several people were injured.
According to the activists from the organization Insight, who were in charge of organizing the march, police failed to fulfil their obligation to protect their freedom of assembly. Instead, the law enforcers pushed the activists back to the nearest subway station, and after some time began evacuating them.
Unfortunately the attack is part of a pattern of violence against the LGBTQI community and activists in Ukraine. The cases of assault on individuals as well as peaceful public demonstrations and other type of cultural and social events dedicated to SOGIESC issues are frequent, often perpetrated by far right groups and almost always remain unpunished.
’’A proactive approach by the law enforcement agencies is of utmost importance so as not to foster a sense of impunity among the groups vocally opposed to the rights of LGBTQI people, making the community and activists even more vulnerable. RFSL urges the Ukrainian authorities to do its utmost to ensure proper investigation of the attack, and take proactive steps to protect freedom of assembly of LGBTQI people,” states Sandra Ehne, president of RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is marked globally on (and around) November 20th, to highlight the overwhelming brutality and extent of often fatal violence against transgender people around the world.
Insight is a feminist LGBTQI rights organization in Ukraine, with a focus on the rights and lived realities of lesbian and bisexual women and transgender, queer and intersex persons.