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Olena Shevchenko

HRD, Community Organizer, Chairperson
Rights on the Line Podcast

Season 4, Episode 3: Olena Shevchenko on the war and situation for lgbtqi+ defenders in #Ukraine


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Olena Shevchenko is a prominent woman human rights defender and community organizer from Ukraine, working on advancing LGBTIQ and women’s rights. Olena Shevchenko is the Chairperson of Insight, an NGO that focuses on promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Ukraine. The woman human rights defender is also a European Representative at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World), the co-chair of the European Lesbian* Conference, and a co-chairperson of the Coalition Against Discrimination in Ukraine.

Before the escalation of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation, the key concerns regarding the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Ukraine were characterised mainly by systemic impediments to the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and personal liberty. In many cases, HRDs were subjected to intimidation, harassment, and attacks, while violence against journalists was tolerated by the authorities. The situation was exacerbated by pervasive corruption in all branches of government and limitations on workers’ rights to strike.