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HRC43 – MRG urges Ukraine to deliver on Roma rights

18 June 2020

Human Rights Council – 43rd Session

Oral Update of the High Commissioner on

the situation of human rights Ukraine – item 10

Madam President,

Roma in Ukraine have a long history of discrimination that, despite some progress in recent years, continues to this day. The current National Roma Integration Strategy is ending this year and despite the positive intentions at the time of its adoption, a recent report by Minority Rights Group and the Roma Women’s Fund ‘Chiricli’, demonstrates that its impact has been limited.

The next 6 months, as the draft of the new post-2020 Strategy is being finalized, is perhaps the most important opportunity for Ukraine to deliver meaningful action to address its failure to protect and realise the rights of Roma in the country.

Madam President,

Like in previous statements, we regret that the authorities have continuously failed to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of a series of violent pogroms that have targeted Roma settlements across Ukraine in 2018. We also regret that Roma families illegally and forcibly evicted from their village of Laschynovska in 2016, have still not been able to return to their homes, or to receive reparation. This is not acceptable and this must be remedied without delay.

With the advent of Covid-19, lack of access to medical facilities in Roma settlements and longstanding prejudice towards Roma by many health workers, means the Roma population has been disproportionately vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic. Misinformation and fake news, linking Roma to the dissemination of the virus continues to spread in public discourse.

We therefore urge Ukrainian authorities to ensure the full funding of Roma Mediators, and the integration of their work into Covid-19 responses at local level. Roma Mediators are the most important agents in mitigating the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Roma community, yet in many cases lack funding, outside of civil society support.

I thank you.