Members of the Ukrainian nationalist organisation C14 have destroyed a Roma settlement in Lysa Hora park in Kyiv. The far-right activists drove out the camp’s inhabitants before burning their possessions and tents.
According to a Facebook post from C14’s coordinator Serhiy Mazur, C14, along with the Municipal Guard (civilian formations set up by local authorities to maintain law and order) and representatives from the Holosiyiv District Administration, issued the Roma camp with an ultimatum to leave the Lysa Hora park by the following day on April 19.
On April 21, Mazur posted on Facebook again, stating: “There are no more gypsies in Lysa Hora. They did not fulfil the requirements yesterday, only some people left the camp. However, after convincing and lawful arguments, the rest also decided to leave the territory.”
Video credit: LB.ua
The police have not reacted to the attack. In an interview with Ukrainian 112 TV channel, the head of the Kyiv police Andriy Kryshchenko stated that the police had not received any complaints of violence from the Roma community following the incident.
“Most of the Roma came here for a memorial day and left. Yes, they left behind a lot of rubbish, but the rubbish was burned… As far as I know, on Saturday, when the rubbish was burned, representatives from the district administration were present and there were firefighters,” Kryshchenko adds.
However, the attack has caught the attention of human rights groups, who have condemned C14’s actions. The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) described the destruction of the Roma settlement as a “flagrant violation of human rights,” and appealed to the Holosiyiv District Administration to confirm its presence at the attack.
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UHHRH have also appealed to the police to investigate C14’s actions and the methods used to disperse the settlement, as well as calling for measures to be taken to reduce the incitement of interracial hostilities.
This is not the first time Ukraine’s Roma community has fallen victim to discrimination. In March 2017, Kyiv City council evicted almost 300 Roma settlers living in a shanty town from one of Kyiv’s districts. The raid was reportedly carried out by unidentified men in balaclavas. Today, Roma people in Ukraine often live in segregated areas, below the poverty line, with limited access to education and medical care.
/By Sofia Fedeczko