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Ukraine: Weak response to attack on LGBTI rights defender

Ukraine: Weak response to attack on LGBTI rights defender

Front Line Defenders reports today:

Ukraine: Attack on LGBTI rights defender

Ukrainian LGBTI rights activist Nick Carter (Photo courtesy of Gay Alliance Ukraine)
Ukrainian LGBTI rights activist Nick Carter (Photo courtesy of Gay Alliance Ukraine)

On 14 September 2015, human rights defender Mr Nick Carter and his friend Mr Kondratov were severely beaten by four unidentified men in Kiev.

Nick Carter is a Kiev-based human rights defender who advocates publicly for LGBTI rights. As a guest on numerous talk shows on Ukrainian television, Nick Carter is well-known for his advocacy and awareness raising in relation to the harassment which many LGBTI people face in Ukraine. Furthermore, he has taken part in demonstrations in support of Ukrainian LGBTI community, including the Equality March in June 2015.

On 14 September 2015, at 10pm, the human rights defender and his friend, Mr Kondratov, were severely beaten near the Obolon’ subway station in Kiev. As they were leaving a supermarket, they were attacked by four unidentified men, who physically assaulted them and made reference to their sexual orientation. Nick Carter suffered serious facial injuries, while Mr Kondratov suffered a concussion. Furthermore, Mr Kondratov’s personal belongings and money were stolen.

When the attackers left, the human rights defender immediately called the police. On arrival, the police officers took a written statement and called for an ambulance to take Nick Carter and Mr Kondratov to hospital for treatment.

On 16 September 2015, Nick Carter was informed that his written statement from the night of the attack had been lost and the police requested that he visit Obolon’ District Department of Internal Affairs in order to submit a new complaint. When submitting the new complaint, the human rights defender felt that he was treated in a disrespectful manner.

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Nick Carter has been the victim of harassment and threats for several months as a result of his public activism. He regularly receives personal threats via his phone and social media accounts from unidentified individuals. This particular attack occurred within the context of increased harassment against the LGBTI community in Ukraine. On 7 June 2015, an Equality March was held in Kiev during which, despite the presence of the police, nine participants were physically attacked and suffered injuries. On 3 November 2014, the Zhovten’ cinema was set on fire during the screening of a LGBTI-related film and the Pomada night club, which is known as a popular meeting place for LGBTI people, has also been repeatedly attacked.

Front Line Defenders condemns the attack against Nick Carter and Mr Kondratov and expresses its concern at the increasingly hostile environment in which LGBTI rights defenders must operate in Ukraine.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Ukraine to:

  • Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Nick Carter and Mr Kondratov;
  • Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Ukraine are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
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