Kiev Pride Event

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2012 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2012

Pride represents a vibrant celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) life in the United Kingdom (UK); it also makes an important political statement. At its core, it’s also about recognising and respecting the rights of all people to freely express their sexual identity without fear of discrimination or persecution.

Pride offers a unique opportunity for our movement to express solidarity with LGBT communities in the UK and highlight commitment to protecting the human rights of those communities around the world.

2012 saw London playing host to World Pride, under the theme of ‘One World, One Pride’. In the UK we take it for granted that we have the right to hold and celebrate Pride events in a safe environment.

In previous years Pride events in the Baltic region have faced threats of violence and banning attempts by local authorities. Conference welcomes the news that this year’s Baltic Pride went ahead with minimal disruption. But, notes with deep concern that the first ever Pride event in the Ukrainian city of Kiev was cancelled because of a “security threat”. The Kiev Police claimed that 500 ultra-right football hooligans were en route to the Pride rally point with the intention of preventing the march from going ahead.

Conference notes that two activists were beaten up and tear gassed by a dozen youths in central Kiev after those already gathered for the march were evacuated with police escort. And, that a senior Kiev police official had previously told the Pride organisers that he was not prepared to put his officers in harm’s way for the LGBT community.

Amnesty International said “It [was]…clear from the start that the Kiev police department did not want.. [the].. march to go ahead. Their reluctance to commit to the event and to put adequate security measures in place to protect demonstrators left organisers fearing for their safety.”

Conference applauds the determination of LGBT people in the Ukraine to organise the Kiev Pride event in a clearly hostile environment.

Conference deplores the failure by authorities to uphold the basic human right to freedom of assembly, guaranteed by Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the Convention), and to ensure the safety of participants.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:

1) Send a message of solidarity to the organisers of the Pride event in Kiev;

2) Work with: Amnesty International, the European Pride Organisers Association, Labour Link, the National Executive Committee and ILGA to ensure that the support of our union is given in the most effective way possible to the struggle against the attacks on basic human rights in the Ukraine;

3) Make representation to the European Parliament, Commission and Council of Europe calling on those bodies to condemn the hostility that Kiev Pride was met with and highlight the duty on the Ukrainian state to uphold the basic right to freedom of assembly and to ensure the safety of Pride participants.