European LGBTQ Youth and Student Activists Meet in Ukraine

From 5th to 8th December, over 40 LGBTQ youth activists from across the pan-European region gathered in Mykolayiv, Ukraine, for IGLYO General Assembly and a capacity building workshop on combating hate speech online.

Prior to the General Assembly, the two-day workshop, focusing on experiences of young people hate speech online and ways of combating, it was successfully held. Participants considered the Council of Europe’s 2013 campaign on the issue and worked to develop practical actions they could take in their own countries to address online hate speech.

The 7th – 8th December saw IGLYO’s General Assembly take place. IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation, is a network of LGBTQ youth and student organisations in Europe and beyond. It is run for and by young people and gathers 78 members from 40 countries. The General Assembly is the highest decision making body of IGLYO. The 2012 GA delegates assessed the work of organisation’s Secretariat and Executive Board throughout the past year, elected four new board members of the organisation, approved work plan for 2013 and adopted three position papers in the areas of Human Rights, Education and Health.

Both events were held in partnership with ‘LiGA’, Mykolayiv Association for Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals based in the southern part of Ukraine. In his welcome address to the workshop participants and delegates to the General Assembly, the Chairman of the Board of LiGA, Oleg Alyokhin said, ‘It is important to hold such events in Ukraine especially prior to the second reading of the homophobic bill 8711 by the Ukrainian Parliament. It is very important to receive support of our colleagues from across Europe. I hope that we will be able to have a positive influence in future on the adoption of such laws in our county, and that such homophobic legislative initiatives won’t affect and threaten lives of LGBTQ in Ukraine’.

The General Assembly of IGLYO was held just days before the second reading of the bill 8711 against the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality” in the Ukrainian parliament by some members of the Verkhovna Rada. This, if adopted, will enforce hefty fines and prison terms of up to five years for publication and distribution of any materials of positive and even neutral information concerning homosexuality and same-sex relations in the media and elsewhere.

The GA delegation also worked on a declaration, addressing this issue. The delegates called on the Verkhovna Rada to reject the proposed discriminatory draft law. The IGLYO GA delegates stated that this draft law sets a dangerous precedent as it may legitimize censorship and oppression against LGBTQ people, threaten freedom of speech and expression and violate fundamental human rights in Ukraine. The declaration will be published in its entirety online at a later stage.

For more information please contact Patrick Dempsey, IGLYO Communications Officer patrick@iglyo.com

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