Anna Sharyhina and Vira Chernygina started Sphere NGO to provide a safe space for women and LGBTI people in a country where often people are attacked and harassed for their identity. They organised the first Pride event in their city of Kharkiv in 2019, managing to mobilize over 3,000 people.
But Sphere NGO have suffered numerous discriminatory attacks because of their work. Since 2017, the organisation has been attacked almost 30 times by homophobic groups – they smashed windows, doused the building with urine and smeared faeces on the walls. They broke up events and intimidated staff members who are just trying to support the LGBTI community in Ukraine. Anna and Vira report them to the police, but no one is held accountable.
During the pride event in 2019, the police failed to protect marchers from violence, instead joining in by hurling homophobic abuse. Anna and Vira say that police inaction in the face of constant attacks has left Sphere and their supporters in a permanent state of fear.
In Ukraine, groups targeting LGBTI people have proliferated across the country, and the authorities are still failing to protect LGBTI people from hate and abuse. The authorities must protect LGBTI people, they must do more.
Sign the petition and call for the authorities in Ukraine to protect Sphere NGO now.