RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQI Rights, strongly condemns the attack perpetrated against the Ukrainian LGBTQI activist Olena Shevchenko and urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and bring the attackers to justice.
On November 1st, two unknown men attacked the director of Insight LGBTQ NGO, Olena Shevchenko in Kyiv, Ukraine. According to Shevchenko perpetrators shouted homophobic slurs, pushed her to the ground and ran away leaving her with lighter injuries. A complaint was filed to the police, but the hopes for positive outcome are low.
Considering that Olena Shevchenko is among the most active spokespersons of the Ukrainian LGBTQ movement, this is not the first time she was targeted. In response to her vocal statements about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Ukraine, including the mobilisation of the far right groups, she has received threats and faced cyberbullying and harassment on a regular basis. Moreover, after the 8th of March demonstration in 2018, there was an attempt to press charges against Olena for ’’abuse of state symbols’’ – which is how police and far right activists interpreted one of the posters used in the march. The charges were later dropped, however Shevchenko was forced to more than once appear in court rooms occupied by far right activists, facing further threats of violence.
RFSL stands in solidarity with Olena Shevchenko and urges the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the attack and take proactive steps to prevent violence against LGBTQ people, human rights defenders and vocally condemn hate crimes.
Insight is a feminist LGBTQ rights organization in Ukraine, with a focus on the rights and lived realities of lesbian and bisexual women and transgender, queer and intersex persons.