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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 03 Protect women’s day rally in Uzhgorod
UA 031/19
Ukraine
Abgeschlossen am 8. März 2019
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8.3.2019: News on Women's Day

Just a quick message to share some great news about today’s International Women’s Day rally in Uzhgorod.

We know that far-right groups were in the city, and planned and openly promised to attack and disrupt but with the support of Amnesty Ukraine, other brave activists, colleagues from AI USA and AI Sweden and thanks to your support, the rally organised by Vitalina went ahead, was well protected by police and was a success and a genuine celebration.

Congratulations to Vitalina and her allies for their bravery and for showing that love wins. And immense thanks to all activists that have supported Vitalina all the way.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Protect women’s day rally in Uzhgorod

AI-Index: EUR 50/9949/2019

Vitalina Koval, a defender of women’s and LGBTI rights, is organising a rally on International Women’s Day, in the western Ukrainian city of Uzhgorod. Previous 8 March events in 2017 and 2018 were targeted by far-right groups and the authorities failed to protect participants. In 2018, Vitalina Koval and other demonstrators were attacked, paint was thrown at them and Vitalina sustained chemical burns to her eyes. A year on, the investigation is still ongoing and there are concerns that far-right groups might target the event again.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On 8 March 2018, Vitalina Koval was attacked for speaking up for her and others’ rights at a rally she organised on International Women’s Day in Uzhgorod, Western Ukraine. Six people from the violence-prone «Karpatska Sich» group doused participants with red paint, causing chemical burns to Vitalina Koval’s eyes.

Vitalina, still covered in paint, went to the police station immediately after visiting the hospital. Her attackers had been detained and were seated in the reception area. The police officer requested that Vitalina state her home address – loudly – within earshot of her attackers, causing her to feel scared and unsafe. Vitalina during several hours insisted that her complaint be registered as a «hate crime» in the police database as at the outset the police did not wish to qualify the crime as such.

In the following days Vitalina and other activists who participated in the 8 March rally observed the rise of threatening speech by «Karpatska Sich»; in particular, the group via social media threatened Vitalina and other activists with further violence. On 12 March, two activists who participated in the 8 March rally but were not initially attacked reported that they had been followed to their homes and beaten up by members of «Karpatska Sich».

The investigation into the attack was inefficient and marred by delays, and those responsible have not been brought to justice. Vitalina Koval featured in the 2018 edition of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign alongside other prominent women human rights defenders from five continents. During Write for Rights, more than 380,000 actions were taken around the world expressing support for Vitalina Koval’s work in defence of women’s and LGBTI rights in Ukraine and calling for justice in connection with the violent attack she suffered in 2018.

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