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MRG & partners call on Russia to cease the violence caused by the war against Ukraine

4 March 2022

This statement was delivered by Yulian Kondur and the International Charitable Organization Roma Women Fund ‘Chiricli’ in the name of MRG and other organizations at the Human Rights Council’s Urgent Debate on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian Aggression, 49th Session, held on Friday 4 March 2022.

This statement is delivered on behalf of a Ukrainian and international coalition of Romani human rights defenders and allies[1], to call for peace and solidarity and call on the Russian Federation to cease the violence caused by the war against Ukraine.

This war is not only a threat to European security and peace, it comes with violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws under the treaties ratified by Russia. This act of violence has already led to far too many deaths on both sides and continues to force hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian residents, including Roma and other minorities, to seek refuge in neighbouring countries while many others are stuck in conflict zones where missiles, bombs, and attacks are daily occurrence.

As members of a global community who has and continues to face far too many tragedies, we wish to express our deep concern regarding the fast escalation of violence and the increasing number of victims this war has already caused.

From the Second World War to the Balkan wars of the late 1990s, history has shown us that in times of war or conflict, the plight of Roma as well as other minorities is continuously ignored, rendered invisible and used to further our persecution. In the midst of bombing, firing, and assaults upon cities in Ukraine by the Russian troops, let us not yet again forget that among the families stalled across cities, with no supplies, no electricity, or medical equipment are Roma, people of African descent and other minorities, refugees, migrants and differently abled human beings.

As we are witnessing, people of all nations stand in solidarity in countries around the world, let us collectively fight for peace, justice and integrity concretely by:

  • continuing to unite and take a stand against the horrors of war and violence,
  • calling on authorities and aid actors to ensure that Roma, minorities and marginalised peoples are granted equal access to protection and safety when seeking refuge, including those without identity documentation.

As the Human Rights Council, we ask you to establish a Commission of Inquiry able to monitor the human rights violations and violence experienced by Roma and other minorities who often face double consequences during the war.

I thank you.

Watch the statement

[1] Minority Rights Group International, Minority Rights Group Europe, United Kingdom Central Council for German Sinti and Roma, Germany Roma Active Albania, Albania Art Foundation Jaw Dikh, Poland Amaro Drom e.V., Germany ROMEA, Czech Republic ARA ART, Czech Republic ARA ART SK, Slovakia RomanoNet, Czech Republic KaskoSan Roma Charity, United Kingdom Roma Support Group, United Kingdom Life Together, Czech Republic E-Romnja Association, Romania Regional Roma Educational Youth Association, North Macedonia Amare Phrala – Our Brothers, Romania Center for Education and Human Rights, Romania