U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt is being urged to raise concerns with his Ukrainian counterparts over the possible cancellation of the upcoming Equality Festival Lviv – an event designed to promote tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination toward various social groups, including the LGBT community. The call came in a letter sent by Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord ahead of the weekend’s event.
The management of the Museum of Ideas, the venue for the festival, informed event organizers that they will no longer host the event, citing anonymous threats of violence and property destruction. In the weeks prior to the event, festival organizers wrote a letter to Lviv Mayor Andrij Sadovyj asking for his public support and participation in the event. Organizers have yet to receive a reply.
“It is alarming that an event designed to promote inclusion can be threatened with violence while political leaders choose to remain silent,” said Gaylord. “The U.S. Embassy should urge Ukrainian officials to take steps to ensure that the event takes places and that its participants are safe.”
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government to prevent the spread of Russian-style propaganda laws in the surrounding region. Human Rights First’s blueprint, “How to Stop Russia from Exporting Homophobia” details how Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and outlines key steps that the U.S. government can take to stop the spread of laws and policies that infringe on the human rights of the LGBT community.