Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine Statement regarding the Equality

On 25 May Kyiv held an Equality March as part of the International LGBT Forum Festival Kyiv Pride 2013.  The Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine welcomes the fact that the March took place and stresses the importance of this mass-scale peaceful gathering for affirming equal rights for the LGBT community in Ukraine. 

The March is part of a public and political dialogue about inalienable human rights.

The Coalition welcomes as a positive new feature the fact that this year’s event was attended not only by members of the LGBT community, but by members of human rights organizations; diplomatic institutions and concerned members of the public.  There was a delegation from Munich which is twinned with Kyiv, with the delegation headed by the Mayor  Herl Monatseder; representatives of the embassies of the USA; Canada; Germany; Sweden; the Netherlands; and France; as well as an MEP, M. Kornelisson. The March had the support of Amnesty International; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; the Without Borders Project; the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine and others.

The Coalition does however note that the potential number of participants was not met because of the statements made by members of radical rightwing groups; religious communities and political parties and the likelihood of physical aggression. The March was therefore not openly publicized meaning that many of those who would have attended could not be present.

The Coalition mentions the high level of professionalism demonstrated by the Kyiv police and special units, as well as the traffic police in ensuring public order during the March. It expresses the hope that future peaceful events will have equal protection and support.

On the other hand the Coalition points to the reluctance of the Kyiv City State Administration to safeguard the right to peaceful assembly for residents and visitors to the city and their lack of understanding of human rights.

As reported, it was the Kyiv City State Administration which applied for and obtained a court ban on the March planned for the centre. This was after the organizers had even held working meetings with the city authorities and agreed to change the route of the March. The Coalition criticizes the offensive statements issued by Oleksandr Popov, Head of KCSA, and considers the ban issued by the Kyiv District Administrative Court on 23 May to have been unconstitutional. 

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