Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/16/44/Add.1, 28 February 2011: Ukraine
2325. On 3 December 2010, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, sent an urgent appeal regarding an attack against Mr. Timur Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco, along with other members of the organisations Insight, Fulcrum, and the Visual Cultural Centre in Kiev, Ukraine. Insight is an organisation that works to improve the lives of people who identify themselves as part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Ukraine. The Visual Cultural centre is a platform for the integration of contemporary artistic practices and scientific disciplines within the academic field.
2326. According to the information received, on 20 November 2010, Insight organized a candlelight vigil, film exhibition and discussion on transgender issues, in cooperation with the Visual Cultural Centre, to promote the Transgender Day of Remembrance held in memory of those who have been killed due to anti-transgender violence in Ukraine.
2327. While the film was being screened, a group of ten men wearing masks reportedly attempted to enter the Visual Cultural Centre by force; however, they were denied entrance by the organizers of the event including Mr. Timur Lysenko, the coordinator of the transgender programme of Insight. The masked men consequently attacked and beat Mr. Lysenko. Furthermore, before fleeing, the intruders reportedly also sprayed tear gas at those present, severely injuring Mr. Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco, a representative of the NGO Fulcrum, among others. It is reported that Mr. Lysenko was subsequently hospitalised and diagnosed with internal injuries and facial chemical burns.
2328. Numerous complaints had reportedly been lodged with the police regarding the attack which, it is reported, was characterised by the police as “hooliganism”. The alleged victims, however, claim that it bears the hallmark of a planned attack with the intention of disrupting an LGBTI event, and have thus urged the police to characterise the attack as a hate crime. The police, however, have reportedly refused to do so.
2329. Concern was expressed that the attacks against Mr. Timur Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco may be related to their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights, particularly with regard to the LGBTI community in Ukraine. Further concern was expressed that these acts, if confirmed, would reflect a context of increasing violence and other forms of harassment against LGBTI organisations in Ukraine.
2330. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government for the response to her communication dated 24 November 2010 but expresses her regret that the Government of Ukraine has not responded to the other two communications sent during the reporting period dated 21 May and 3 December 2010. She considers response to her communications an important part of cooperation by Governments. She urges the Government to respond to concerns raised by her and provide detailed information regarding investigations undertaken, prosecutions as well as protective measures taken.
2331. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express her concern at the reported context of increasing violence and other forms of harassment again human rights defenders in Ukraine. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure the existence of an environment which is conducive to the work of all human rights defenders.
Link to full text of the report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/docs/A.HRC.16.44.Add.1_EFSonly.pdf