Human rights defender
Yuri has been involved in human rights activism for the past 7 years, predominantly fighting to bolster LGBTIQ rights in the country. Yuri is currently working for a leading human rights organisation and he was the Content Manager and Transgender Programme Coordinator for a LGBTIQ rights organisation. Yuri has fought for rights on a personal level as a transgender person himself.
Human rights violations in Ukraine
Along with ongoing hostilities in the East of Ukraine, the country’s human rights are under threat from within with the government taking increasing steps to curb freedom of expression and association, reducing civic space. Hate crimes against LGBTIQ persons carried out by right-wing extremists are becoming commonplace. A number of violent attacks or threats have taken place over the last year, specifically targeting LGBTIQ events; too often, the police are present but take no action, or even sometimes make homophobic comments themselves. According to figures reported to the OSCE by authorities and independent observers in Ukraine, such homophobic/transphobic acts have increased in number in 2018 when compared to previous years.
Threats and harassment
Yuri himself has suffered from such developments. The organisations he works for has become a permanent target for right-wing radicals. There have been both physical and digital threats made, and persistent attempts to disrupt events. In recent years the organisation had been forced to relocate as extremists became aware of its location, preceding to mark it with Swastikas and organising rallies against them nearby. In addition, Yuri faces individual attacks as a result of his identity.