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“Violence should not be normal, even if it is war’

‘Extreme right-wing groups viseerden first lesbian, gay, bisexual, Roma and now the anticorruptiebeweging, ” says lgbt activist Vitalina Koval. However, the Ukrainian society still have the energy. ‘It may be different.’

The Ukrainian president Porosjenko left this week at his cards, looking through the martial law to introduce. According to Bloomberg, was that a transparent attempt to competitors in the election of march …

The Ukrainian president Porosjenko left this week at his cards, looking through the martial law to introduce. According to Bloomberg, was that a transparent attempt to competitors in the election of march 2019 offside position to convert. But the parliament gave unchallenged. The state of emergency will remain limited to 30 days, and even then only in certain regions.

Yet is that a state of emergency for lgbt-activist Vitalina Koval (28) a breaking point. ‘Finally, We have collectively accepted that we are at war, ” she says. “Five years, though it may sound that it is not so serious: the veterans with their about their war trauma, the people we have lost, the Russian cybergroepjes that the opinion to try to influence with comments on social media … That illusion is now broken.’

Vitalina is a small, energetic woman. Four years ago she came out of the closet. “You feel bad if you end up for your orientation and if you don’t do it. I lied every day and every minute about who I was. When a lesbian friend committed suicide because her parents its not accepted, I had to do something.’

They built a center for support of lgbt young people. That turned out to be a licence for violence. On the International Women’s day slammed extremists a red chemical in her face. They loved it burns in her eyes. ‘Then I had to move to another city, ” says Vitalina, without much drama. ‘Extreme right-wing groups were seeking my address and threatened me.” Thirty to forty ‘bodybuildertypes, ” cried her to be the personal enemy. “It was no longer safe.”

Teens, uniform

People with a different sexual orientation are in Ukraine now the canaries in the coal mine. The rise of extreme right-wing, militant associations put the society under pressure, especially those who are not of the ultra-nationalist ideal meet. ‘Two or three years ago extreme right-wing groups, lesbian, gay, bisexual envision, ” says Vitalina. “Then they started against Roma, because they are based on a neo-nazi ideology. Now come anticorruptiebewegingen under fire.” Since 2017 there were 55 public, often very wreedaardige attacks on human rights defenders.

‘The extreme-right consists of teenagers and very young twenty-somethings, under the direction of a 30-year-old. Those groups have money: someone provides them with transport, accommodation, uniformpjes and guns with rubberkogels.’ Who the donors are, that it is run for rumors. ‘Some say someone from the Ukrainian establishment, others say the Russians. But it also has to do with about their war trauma. Veterans come back from Donbass with other ideas.’

Police do nothing

How long can you today on the streets of Kiev with a sign that says, ” I am a holebiactivist, give me a hug?’ Vitalina tested it out. “We planned an hour, it is ultimately a half-hour. “There were so many nice people that me thanked and supported. Then came two men to me hassling for a pervert, they said that I had the country insulted. They tried me and for passers-by to scare off by our filming. Eventually, they called friends to come. When we have immediately taken a taxi.’

The big problem is that police and justice, according to Amnesty International, to a lot of job indicate that violent minority. Even in the police station felt Vitalina is vulnerable. “They said that they did not find evidence for a haatmisdrijf. But the leaflets that they to me threw were full of hate. So it goes also for women who experience domestic violence. It is the first time, so see you soon, it sounds than to the police.’

Is it too far seized in wartime for holebirechten to argue? ‘Create exceptions on human rights for certain people is one of the reasons of the war, ” says Vitalina. ‘Politicians all want for ourselves and not attract how many people’s lives, they must sacrifice: that is a system in which no peace can exist. It is a slippery slope. If they are one group of measures, then they will after a while also others want to take.’

That holebiactivisme under those circumstances, it just gains momentum, is a sign of the resilience of the Ukrainian society. Burns and swear words do hurt, but the choice to get the hands out of the sleeves gives Vitalina pure energy. “I’m not ready to get my country on. If you’re not acting, you will not get a second chance. I have been in Belgium lesbian asylum seekers in my country to meet those beaten up were in their own apartment, their children are threatened. It may be different, we have seen it all.’

Who participates in the Amnesty Schrijfmarathon can write a letter to the Ukraine to protection for Vitalina. The Schrijfmarathon starts this weekend and put female activists in the spotlight.

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