LGBT activists feared missing in Ukraine say human rights groups

An LGBT rights activist and another person are feared missing in the separatist-controlled Dontesk region in eastern Ukraine, say human rights groups.

The people, Grey Violet and Victoria Miroshnichenko, were last seen on 31 January.

The pair had been planning to stage a performance in Donetsk in favour of the LGBT community and to film the demonstration.

“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.”

According to a friend of one of the activists who spoke to HRW, Grey Violet was last in contact at around 11am on 31 January.

Others also said she had last contacted them on 31 Jan.

Some said they had received information that the pair had been detained after arriving in the region.

According to HRW it is feared that DNR security officials may have detained the pair.

Russian media also reported that the DNR people’s council chairman said neither the DNR or the police were holding the pair.

“The longer Grey Violet and Miroshnichenko are held without revealing their whereabouts, the more they are vulnerable to abuse,” Cooper adds.

“The de facto DNR authorities should immediately find out where they are and ensure their safety. If there are lawful grounds for holding them, guarantee their due process rights, including unimpeded access to legal counsel of their choice.”

The HRW urges the DNR authorities to reveal where the pair are, should they be in custody.