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HRC – MRG and Chirikli on the situation of Roma in Ukraine in light of the Covid-19 pandemic

18 December 2020

Yulian Kondur, from Roma Women’s Fund ‘Chiricli’ (Ukraine) delivered the following statement during the UN Human Rights Council’s dialogue on human rights in Ukraine held on 18 December 2020.

Madame President,

Minority Rights Group and Roma Women’s Fund “Chiricli” would like to bring to your attention the situation of Roma communities in Ukraine in light of the economic and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lockdown in Ukraine aggravated the situation of Roma, who already faced limited access to healthcare and education, widespread discrimination and a lack of stable incomes. Poor housing and economic insecurity- limited access to running water and sanitizers – make it nearly impossible to follow the quarantine prescribed rules of social distance and hygiene.

Roma engaged in small entrepreneurships and those having seasonal work in neighboring countries are among those who are the most affected economically, and those in the rural areas with poor infrastructure and no job opportunities are even more effected.

Despite limited yet valuable humanitarian support provided to Roma communities by the NGO sector, the situation necessitates a substantial State’s intervention. We note that we are particularly concerned by the Resolution No. 632 of the Cabinet of Ministers that disproportionally affects Roma women as single mothers cutting social security payments to single parents.

We would like to commend the efforts of Ombudsperson’s office on scrutinizing the situation of Roma in light of Covid-19 in the regions and note the close cooperation of the HRMMU with Roma NGOs in understanding the effects of Covid-19 on Roma. We urge Ukrainian authorities, to react to the needs of the Roma, homeless people, by implementing the recommendations set out in HRMMU’s briefing notes on the impact of Covid-19.

We also recommend Ukrainian authorities the following:

  • Ensure that Covid-19 recovery planning leaves no one behind and does not exacerbate greater inequality, by establishing cooperation with Roma CSOs and Roma health mediators.
  • Ensure access to medical service for Roma women, men and children despite the lack of birth certificates, IDs and contracts with family doctors.
  • Provide access to education for Roma children in remote format taking into consideration limited access to the Internet and other communicative technologies;
  • Ensure access to the running water and sanitation, food, electricity and other basic human need for Roma, including those living in segregated Roma settlements, namely by solving the issue of legalization of Roma compact settlements;

I thank you.