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Roma NGOs ask President of Ukraine to create post of Ombudsman for Roma minorities

On September 8 the Coalition of Roma NGOs submitted an official letter to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. It comprises 2 following suggestions: to create an institution that will be responsible for the implementation of the Roma strategy 2020 and to consider the possibility of introducing a new post of Ombudsman for Roma minorities.

The leader of the Coalition Volodymyr Kondur noted in the appeal that the Coalition consists of 13 NGOs representing the interests and protecting the rights of the Roma. Today they remain one of the most socially vulnerable ethnic minorities in Ukraine. Since 2014, the Coalition is realizing the monitoring of the implementation of the state policy towards the Roma in Ukraine, officially stated in Roma strategy-2020.

Public activists express their concern about events in Loshchynivka, Odessa region, where anti-Roma pogroms and mass expulsion of 10 Roma families from the village happened (according to the OSCE it is about 60 people).  The activists consider the decision of the village authorities regarding forced evictions illegal and also point to the absence of proper response and inaction of the Central Government.

It is stated in the letter:

"The events in Odessa, the second largest region of Ukraine, where the Roma are living, have exposed a number of socially dangerous in the current conditions problems and manifestations, including discrimination and harassment based on ethnic origin, xenophobia and hate speech, spreading by both media and public persons, resorting to unacceptable speech against the Roma national minority.

Compact way of living of the Roma communities in the regions of Ukraine, sociocultural characteristics of the community, absence of official statistics of their population, as well as dissemination of stereotypes and discrimination impede the full social involvement of the Roma national minority into Ukrainian society.

Sharing the European values and principles of respect for human rights, Ukraine has undertaken a number of international obligations, including the implementation of proactive actions in the liquidation of all forms of racial discrimination and xenophobia. Specific actions made in the sphere of rights protection of national minorities justify to the international community the readiness of Ukraine to become a full and equal partner of the European Union.

Recent events have demonstrated to all of us glaring necessity for a competent state body on protection of the rights of national minorities and ethnic politics.

The Coalition of Roma NGOs of Ukraine "Strategy 2020" proposes to establish an institution that will be responsible for the implementation of the integration strategy of the Roma national minority into the Ukrainian society. We also ask you to consider the creation of the post of Ombudsman for the Roma national minority".


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As Volodymyr Kondur reported to Legal Space the letter was sent by email on September 8. The request will be forwarded to the Presidential Administration.

The proposal to create an independent structure for the protection of national minorities had previously been voiced by human rights defenders during a press conference on the events in Loshchynivka village. The meeting took place on September 5 in Kiev, in Ukraine Crisis Media Center, at the initiative of the Coalition in collaboration with International Renaissance Foundation.


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