Kyiv, 4 September 2019 - Throughout 2019, the United Nations in Ukraine has attended and monitored various LGBT events throughout the country, including KyivPride in June and OdesaPride in August. The UN has welcomed the way in which law enforcement successfully and professionally addressed all security challenges, providing an opportunity for LGBT people and their supporters, as well as for counter-demonstrators, to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani said she was surprised and disappointed by the action taken by Kharkiv local authorities on 2 September to seek a judicial ban for KharkivPride planned for 15 September 2019 due to security risks. Pride is a march for equality and non-discrimination. Such events take place all over the world, including Ukraine, proving the State’s adherence to global human rights values, inclusiveness, tolerance and the principle ‘to leave no one behind’.

Freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly are inalienable human rights. It is the obligation of the State to guarantee that all people, without discrimination, shall enjoy their freedoms. Security concerns, indeed, can be the reason for certain restrictions. Yet, such restrictions should only be applied as the last resort.

“I would encourage Kharkiv authorities to put human rights first, to work in close consultation with the police, civil society and international community and undertake all measures to avoid unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions of rights and freedoms,” stressed Lubrani.

The United Nations in Ukraine remains open for further consultation and cooperation.

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