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Two LGBT rights supporters have vanished in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine and are feared to have become victims of anti-LGBT forces there.
А Russian LGBT activist and Victoria Miroshnichenko have been missing since January 31, 2017, in the Donetsk region and are feared to be victims of enforced disappearances. The Human Rights Watch announced it is concerned that the de facto authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) have detained them and are refusing to acknowledge their detention.
“It is distressing that no one has been able to find out where Grey Violet and Miroshnichenko are since they arrived in the DNR 10 days ago,” said Tanya Cooper, Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Their sudden disappearance requires prompt and effective investigation.”
One of the activists’ friends in Kyiv told Human Rights Watch that Grey Violet was last in contact with her at about 11 a.m. on January 31. Other friends confirmed that it was the last day any of them had heard from Grey Violet and that the activist had stopped answering phone and online messages.
HRW has not been able to get information about why the activists may have been detained, or whether they face any charges.
A 2016 report by Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial, a Russian rights group based in Saint Petersburg, says that the situation for the LGBT community in the separatist-held Luhansk and Donetsk regions has drastically deteriorated since the beginning of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014. In September 2014, the de facto authorities of the separatist-held Luhansk region said they were considering a death sentence for homosexuality.