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Human rights activists prevented a conflict between Roma and local residents in Odesa
"Garbage of Confusion" almost became the cause of the conflict in Korsuntsi. Photo by Human Rights Roma Center.
"Garbage of Confusion" almost became the cause of the conflict in Korsuntsi.

The situation that occurred in July in the village of Korsuntsi, Odesa oblast, had the risks of becoming a conflict on a multiethnic basis, such as last year's in Loshchynivka. Employees of Human Rights Roma Center went to the scene and managed to reconcile the parties.

Misunderstanding between the community of the village of Korsuntsi and the inhabitants of the local Roma district had a rather long history. Local residents blamed the Roma for littering the village. The situation was complicated by the fact that there are still no trash cans and containers in Korsuntsi: local authorities fail to resolve the issue of a tender for garbage collection and installation of the appropriate equipment. Therefore, the amount of waste that people simply threw, where it would come, became huge and the resident believed that the entire blame is on the Roman Quarter. The conflict gained momentum.

The community intended to send complaints to the local rayon state administration and the police, which accused the Roma of violating Article 152 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses (Article 152 Violation of state standards, norms and rules in the field of improvement of settlements, rules of improvement of territories of settlements). The residents of Korsuntsi asked to take measures and were about to evict 10 Romani families.

In order to prevent the further incitement of hostility, human rights defenders decided to meet with both sides of the conflict. Lyudmila Garbuzova, a local MP, was involved in the dialogue and helped clarify the claims of local residents and decide on the need to hold a joint meeting.

“In my opinion, such an attitude is "warmed up" by these ill-fated events in Loshchyninka, and this plays an important role not only in the Odesa oblast but also in other oblasts", said the Head of the Human Rights Roma Center, the head of the Coalition of the Roma NGOs of Ukraine, a lawyer Volodymyr Kondur. “Nevertheless, due to the fact that the lawyers and volunteers of our Center work with the community in the village of Korsuntsi, we managed to prevent a conflict, which at that time was small, but could have become more extensive”.

Representatives of the Human Rights Roma Center Volodymyr Kondur, Vita Kobzar and Dmytro Prodan invited Romani families, residents who had claims and representatives of the Korsunski village council to meetings.

Negotiations involved neighbors whose homes are bordered by houses of the Roma district – mostly older people. From the side of the Roma, there were 7-8 families. At first, the tone of the conversation was quite tense, but already at the end of the meeting - and it lasted for about half an hour - everyone spoke calmly, without any extra emotions, and everything was fine.

As a result, the parties agreed to a compromise. They decided not to file a complaint. Instead, the volunteers of the Center organized a "subbotnik" - they brought the Roma to the Korsuntsi to clean up the clogged territory.

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Great cleaning in Korsuntsi. Photo by Human Rights Roma Center.

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The smallest inhabitants of the Roma district also participated in the subbotnik. Photo by Human Rights Roma Center.

P.S. Legal centers providing free legal aid to the Roma population work with the support of Roma Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation. More details can be found on the Legal Space website in the Empowerment of Roma communities.

The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.

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