Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1191st meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 5 July 2018
Ukraine strongly condemns all forms of violence motivated by racial hatred or xenophobia, including violent attacks on Roma people, who are integral part of Ukraine’s ethnically diverse society.
The reports of an insolent night attack on 23 June on a Roma settlement in the Lviv region, which led to the loss of a human life, caused horror and indignation in Ukraine. This heinous crime was condemned at the local and national level, including by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.
The Government of Ukraine has taken immediate action in response to this brutal attack. The National Police of Ukraine reported that all 14 perpetrators of the attack on the Roma camp were arrested. The court ordered 8 suspects, including the 20-year-old organizer, to be held in custody without bail for 60 days.
Criminal proceedings were opened under para 12, part 2, Article 115 (intentional murder committed by a group of persons under the previous agreement), part 4 of Article 296 (hooliganism), part 1, Article 304 (involvement of minors in criminal activities) and part 1 of Article 161 (violation of equal rights of citizens on the grounds of their race, nationality or religious beliefs) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The maximum punishment provided for by the sanctions of these articles - imprisonment for up to fifteen years or life imprisonment. Pre-trial investigation continues.
According to the competent authorities of Ukraine, all the suspects belonged to non-registered group “Sober and evil youth”, which appears to share the radical ideologies of racism, anti-Semitism and pan-Slavism with far-right groups operating in the neighbouring Russia.
The Government of Ukraine is serious in implementing of the Strategy of Integration of the Roma national minority into the Ukrainian society. We stand ready to continue co-operation on this issue with all international actors including OSCE, Council of Europe and others.
As Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasized in its statement, “establishing the truth and bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes is what the Ukrainian society so urgently needs today. It is also an important part of the international legal obligations of Ukraine under many international treaties that our country is a party to – starting with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
It is regrettable to note that in recent years, anti-migrant, anti-Roma attitudes have intensified across Europe, which in particular results in discrimination, persecution and hate crimes against Roma communities and their individual members. Reports of reputable international organizations record the fact that in the richest region of the world, the Roma continue to suffer from the inability to meet their basic needs and to enjoy their basic rights. Unfortunately, Ukraine is not an exception, thus, we will actively work on developing a real pan-European policy to overcome these negative trends and become part of this policy.
Ukraine faces many challenges today, but overcoming discrimination against the Roma, eliminating the root causes of such discrimination and, consequently, eliminating ethnic-based violence is an extremely important and urgent task for the Ukrainian State.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.