The United Nations has called on Ukraine to take “immediate action” to end what it called the “systematic persecution” of the country’s Roma minority population.
“We unequivocally condemn these heinous acts of intimidation and violence against members of the Roma minority in Ukraine,” a panel of UN experts said in a statement on July 18.
“We are also seriously concerned at the growing hatred and racially motivated violence against this community – and in particular against its most vulnerable members – women and children,” the experts added.
As reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) online, the UN experts urged Ukrainian authorities “to take all appropriate measures to comply with their international human rights obligations, including with regard to the protection of the rights of individuals belonging to national, ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities”.
Just hours after the UN experts issued their call for action, a court in Kyiv’s Holosiv district on July 18 placed Serhiy Mazur, coordinator of the Sich C-14 far-right group, under two months of house arrest in connection with a May attack against a Roma camp near Kyiv.
Mazur was detained after police searched his apartment in Kyiv on May 10 and charged him with hooliganism.
Roma, members of an ethnic group that lives on the margins of society, are frequently victims of discrimination, prejudice, and hate in many parts of Europe, particularly in the east.
According to the Council of Europe, there are an estimated 260,000 Roma in Ukraine out of a population of 48.5 million.
There have been at least six reported attacks on Romany camps in western Ukraine since April 2018, allegedly by members of right-wing extremist groups, reported RFE/RL.
The latest violence was on July 2 when media reports stated that a 30-year Romany woman was killed in the city of Berehove. Local authorities in Berehove said unidentified attackers slashed the woman’s throat.
In late June, a 24-year-old Romany man from a village in western Ukraine was killed in an attack by a group of masked men on a Romany camp in a forest outside the city of Lviv. Seven people were arrested in connection with that attack.