RFSL is deeply concerned by the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The security risks for the civilian population are very high and increasing rapidly, this of course affects particularly vulnerable groups in society extra hard.
We know that LGBTQI people have previously been particularly vulnerable in the previous conflicts that affected Ukraine. In 2014-2015, we saw that LGBTQI people in affected areas were targets and many needed to flee their homes. Once they became internally displaced people, they were subjected to discrimination and had, among other things, difficulty finding housing, which meant that they had to rely on LGBTQI organizations in the country to get protection. Supporting Ukrainian LGBTQI organizations is therefore of the utmost importance.
RFSL is in close dialogue with several organizations in the country, which believe that the entire population but especially LGBTQI people are under great pressure right now. We must listen to Ukrainian LGBTQI organizations and activists and try to meet the needs they express.
RFSL urges Swedish donors to support the LGBTQI movement with long-term funding, especially for safe housing and shelters for internal LGBTQI refugees. Due to the emergency situation, donors must also be prepared to quickly make available resources for emergency evacuation or other sudden needs that may arise. Sweden and other European countries must be prepared to receive LGBTQI refugees from Ukraine, offer them safe escape routes and the opportunity to obtain asylum quickly.
We also call on organizations that offer humanitarian aid in the country to actively include LGBTQI people, as this is a particularly vulnerable group which is unfortunately rarely included in humanitarian assistance efforts.