Elton John calls on Ukrainians to build new tolerant, democratic society

14.09.2015 р., 11:15

"I suggest to you that your stance on human rights will also be a defining characteristic of the new Ukraine, and that there is no clearer touchstone on the issue of human rights than the respect and dignity afforded to your LGBT citizens. So, being tolerant and inclusive is not only the morally right thing to do, for the new Ukraine it is the smart thing to do," Elton John said during the 12th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting in Kyiv on Saturday. John reminded about holding a concert on Maidan in 2007 to promote awareness and tolerance of HIV/AIDS, which gave him the mandate to support the social projects by his foundation. "During my concert on Maidan under the information campaign, over 3,000 people including politicians, priests, the young and old, listened to the music and the message and cheered. It felt like a mandate for the Elton John AIDS Foundation to support projects across Ukraine. There are over 40 projects which have already been launched," he said. "That night it felt like everyone there on Maidan was on the right side of history. It is the Maidan I long to see in the new Ukraine," John said. However, John went on to say he felt depressed about the fact that a gay pride parade held in Kyiv this summer couldn't escape violence. "I tell you with great sadness that right here in this very city, earlier this summer, a simple and modest gay pride parade had to be organized at a secret location to try to prevent hooligans from disrupting it and committing acts of violence against the celebrants. The 250 people marching had to be surrounded by twice as many police in riot gear in order to protect them while they exercised their simple, basic human right to gather in public to celebrate their identity The March lasted all of 10 minutes. The fighting lasted over an hour So I tell you soberly we have a long way to go...," John said calling on Ukrainians to find a way to prevent such violence from happening in the future.

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