Council of Europe indicates main victims of discrimination in Ukraine

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September 19, 2017

Council of Europe indicates main victims of discrimination in Ukraine

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) under the Council of Europe has released a report noting that Donbas war and the Crimea annexation caused the significant increase of hatred in the society and “had a negative effect on vulnerable groups in general.”

 In particular, DW informs that the report indicates that in 2014 and 2015, Ukraine faced the intensification of violence against LGBT community. In some cases, the matter was in attacks “with the use of weapons and explosives.” ECRI expressed concern with the information about incidents when Ukrainian police officers deliberately failed to intervene to stop attacks and violence against LGBT persons.

 According to the international experts, the main victims of racial discrimination in Ukraine are mainly Roma. Roma children are more often subject to expulsion from schools and bullying. Moreover, it is a big problem for many Roma to obtain ID documents. The Council of Europe pays attention to the fact that Ukrainian Strategy for the Protection and Integration of the Roma Ethnic Minority in Ukraine up to 2020 (adopted in 2013) has still no budget, and the most part of its provisions have never been implemented. 

The authors of the report state that on the background of “anti-Russia rhetoric” caused by the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the armed conflict on Donbas, the “religious intolerance and tensions between the different Churches loyal to Kyiv or to Moscow” intensified. 

As the result, the category of people vulnerable to discrimination in the east of Ukraine is now expanded by IDPs. 

The report states that despite the fact that “while there was initially sympathy for IDPs in 2014, this appears to be waning.” 

The IDPs begin to experience difficulties during registration, and this significantly restricts their rights and complicates their access to housing and employment.

 The reporters of the Council of Europe criticize Ukraine’s discrimination legislation. In particular, the Criminal Code of Ukraine stipulates no punishment “of incitement to hatred motivated by homo/transphobia and the Law on Prevention and Combating Discrimination does not mention the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The specific provisions on

racially-motivated hate crime (hate speech and hate-motivated violence) are rarely applied and with a low conviction rate,” the experts write.

 The ECRI’s report covers the period from 2011 to March 2017, and does not take into account the situated in Crimea annexed by Russia and in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.