On Friday, October 2, in the Ukrainian House, a cultural and art center in Kiev, a public hearing on human rights in law enforcement agencies was held. Among other things, the discussion turned to problems of homosexuals and the police force.
The hearing was collectively organized by the Bureau of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and the Kharkiv Human Rights Group.
On the backdrop of frequent violations of the rights of homosexual citizens by the police, the fact that the hearings were conducted with the participation of the leadership of the Interior Ministry was more than appropriate, reported the press service of the Gay Forum of Ukraine.
The decision for the Bureau to participate in the hearings was made by the head of the agency, Yuri Lutsenko, the director of the Ministerial Join Staff, and the heads of the departments of the central staff of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine.
At the plenary session, in his report the project coordinator of the Center "Social Action" Maksim Butkevich touched on some alarming tendencies of growth of frequent homophobic aggression in Ukraine.
"Impunity breeds recidivism - recent events clearly demonstrate this," explains human rights activitist Butkevich. "One of the first signals were smoke bombs, with help of which the "unknown", later called "patriots", disrupted the presentation of the film "Bruno" in a private cinema. The culprits were not found. Later there were attempts to riot during the presentation of the anthology of queer poetry in Lviv and Kiev. And then, two days ago other "unknowns" burned the art gallery of Pavel Gudimov in the Podol area of Kiev, where a debate on homosexuality had taken place the previous evening. The situation is such that a homophobic crime is visible to others far outside the LGBT community and law enforcement officials need to respond harshly, in my opinion."
A representative of the Center "Our World" Aleksandr Zinchenkov classified the most frequent cases of civil rights violations on gays in his report. Among them - gathering confidential information about gays (photographs, fingerprinting, copying information from cell phones), unwarranted searches, belittling demeanor during proceedings, unwarranted "working off" in connection with criminal incidents, ineffective protection during public LGBT events.
A leader of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, Svyatoslav Shermet (pictured), drew public attention to discriminatory training materials for police and military, in which, either by an oversight of the authors or due to deliberate distortion, homosexuality is classified as a sexual perversion along with exhibitionism and masochism.
"The Minister stated at the opening of the hearings today with a very important phrase: ‘Everything starts with education,’ " quoted Lutsenko, the director of the Gay Forum of Ukraine. "As long as national textbooks for the police contain discussion of homosexuality as a perversion, we cannot count on adequate treatment from law enforcement.
"At the same time," continued Sheremet, "there is a distinctive positive trend in the work of the police. Whether this speaks to the approach of the Euro-2012, when a score of European homosexuals will visit, or whether something has finally changed in their heads: first of all, experts of gay-lesbian organization have started to get involved in investigations of criminal cases related to gays, and secondly, the police have become more responsive to requests to ensure rule of law.
"You know that law enforcement officials have provided secured "cover" for many public LGBT events recently and, although failing to completely eliminate homophobic aggression, were able to minimize damage from it."
Recall that earlier this year there have already been eight cases of unlawful homophobic terror - in Nikolayev, Kiev, and Lviv. Some of the perpetrators from these crimes have been arrested and prosecuted.
Traslated by Timothy Grishin