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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 11 Transgender rights march at risk of attack
UA 157/19
Abgeschlossen am 25. November 2019
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25.11.2019: Good news!

Good news! On 23 November, Trans March in Kyiv has been successfully protected by the authorities. Up to 100 activists were able to convene and march to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. Several hundred law enforcement officers were deployed to protect Trans March participants from the violent members of far-right groups advocating for hatred and discrimination - there were dozens of them holding a nearby demonstration, beyond the police cordon. This is a striking improvement with regards to Trans March 2018 when transgender rights activists were not able to exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

We believe that the actions taken by the UA network as well as advocacy by Amnesty Ukraine have contributed significantly towards ensuring the protection of Trans March 2019. Organisers of the Trans March were thankful to Amnesty for our support.

You can read more about the Trans March 2019 in this article

We will issue an Outcome UA as soon as possible.

Transgender rights march at risk of attack

AI-Index: EUR 50/1410/2019

Transgender rights activists in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv are planning to hold a march on 23 November to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. In 2018, the police failed to protect those participating in a similar march from attacks by violent groups advocating hatred and discrimination. This year, there is a serious risk of new attacks and the police must ensure people can safely exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression without discrimination.


LGBTI rights activists in Ukraine have been facing physical attacks from violent groups advocating hatred and discrimination for many years. The perpetrators of such attacks are rarely held accountable for their actions and thus enjoy near total impunity.

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is provided in legally binding international human rights treaties that Ukraine has ratified, including Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This right, as detailed by international law and standards, imposes obligations on the state, including to provide adequate security measures, and the onus falls on the authorities to ensure that peaceful assemblies can go ahead.

In 2018, transgender rights activists in Kyiv informed their supporters via Facebook of the plans to hold a transgender rights march on 18 November. In response, several violent groups who are known for their advocacy of discrimination and for targeting LGBTI people, publicly promised to disrupt the event and invited their supporters to join them. Their open threat of violence forced the organisers to move the original location of the rally from Mikhaylyvska square to Taras Shevchenko Park. At around 10:30 am on 18 November, Amnesty International members witnessed dozens of individuals, some masked and many wearing insignia of the violent groups that had issued the threats, assemble in Taras Shevchenko Park. They were carrying transphobic placards and holding prayers. At about 11:30 am, thirty minutes before the rally, the police told the organisers that they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the event and insisted that the rally be moved to the Universytet metro station nearby.

At noon, when some 30 transgender rights activists assembled in front of the Universytet metro station, they were encircled by police in riot gear. Shortly after, violent counter-protesters began throwing smoke grenades towards the rally from the opposite side of the street. The police did not stop them from throwing the smoke grenades or detain any of them.

Several minutes later, a group of about a dozen counter-protesters aggressively approached the rally and positioned themselves around the transgender rights activists. Following this, the police stopped the peaceful assembly, surrounded the participants and forced them inside the metro station, effectively putting an end to the rally. The counter-protesters then took their place in front of the station, unfurled their banners and flags, and made transphobic speeches. The police did not make any visible effort to intervene and allowed the counter protesters to hold their rally on the spot which the transgender rights activists were forced to leave.

Later the same day, the press service of the National Police of Kyiv announced that the police had prevented a «provocation» from the far-right groups against the transgender rights activists but made no mention of whether anyone had been detained in connection with the incident. Amnesty International repeatedly attempted to contact the Ministry of Interior press service, unsuccessfully, for comments and further information regarding its response to the incident.

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