1 June 2018 – The United Nations in Ukraine calls on the authorities in Ukraine to act urgently to protect Roma communities, LGBTI activists and other minority groups who face violent attacks and harassment in the country.

The past month saw three arson attacks on Roma settlements in western Ukraine, Lviv and Ternopil, and in the capital, Kyiv. The attacks resulted in the forced evictions of the Roma communities. The National Police has initiated investigations under hooliganism charges (in one case with firearms). In a separate case, on 24 May, a lawyer for a Roma community was beaten and faced death threats. He represents victims of an earlier attack on a Roma settlement in 2017, when one Roma man was killed and many beaten. To date, no one has been held accountable for this killing and violence.

The United Nations in Ukraine urges the Government of Ukraine to continue looking into actions perpetrated by some radical elements that infringe upon the fundamental rights of minority groups enshrined in human rights treaties ratified by Ukraine. In a number of cases radical elements have claimed responsibility for the recent attacks and intimidation against Roma, as well as the LGBTI community, and individuals promoting gender equality, throughout Ukraine. The attacks, along with widespread social media messages that may amount to hate speech and incitement to hatred against Roma, LGBTI community and other minority groups, are indicators of growing intolerance. This should be immediately addressed to prevent further such violence in Ukraine.

“The lack of accountability in violent attacks against minorities and evictions of Roma in previous years has fuelled impunity. We urge the Government to demonstrate zero tolerance by publicly condemning such acts, by investigating all attacks against minorities, by bringing perpetrators to account and by guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination and equality,” – says Ms. Fiona Frazer, Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.