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Slovakia and Ukraine Must Investigate Attacks against Roma

25 June 2012

Budapest, Bratislava, Kiev, 25 June 2012: Romani individuals have been attacked, killed and threatened in two separate incidents in Slovakia and Ukraine in the last month. The European Roma Rights Centre has sent letters to the authorities calling for a full and transparent investigation into the events.

In Slovakia, an off-duty policeman killed three Romani people, and injured two others in a shooting attack in Hurbanovo. The 51-year-old municipal police officer shot dead three Romani people and wounded another two. The officer shot dead a 44-year-old man, his son (19) and son-in-law (24) on 16 June 2012.  The officer involved has since been arrested on three counts of premeditated murder, attempted murder, and illegal weapons possession.

The ERRC is concerned that comments by high ranking Slovak authorities could impede a full, unbiased and transparent investigation. In a media briefing, the Slovak Interior Minister Róbert Kaliňák said the victims of the assault are known to police and that four of the five reportedly have criminal pasts. The Mayor and Chief of Police have also publicly stated support for the officer. Based on media reports to date, it is not clear whether or not racial motivation is being investigated in this case.

In Ukraine, a Romani settlement in Kiev was burned to the ground by unknown perpetrators on May 31. The settlement was home to about 70 people. Residents of the settlement reported that during the attack they were ordered by their assailants to “disappear from Kiev”, and the perpetrators also threatened to shoot the residents. Many Romani individuals lost valuable personal documents, including passports.  Sources quoted in the media have claimed that law enforcement officers were ordered to ““sweep” the settlement, i.e. get rid of it. A police spokesperson said that they were continuing to investigate reports of police involvement in the incident.

The incidents are part of ongoing trend of violence against Roma. In Romania two Romani individuals were recently killed in incidents involving law enforcement.

State authorities have a responsibility to investigate all attacks against Romani people, and to consider any racial motivation. The ERRC is calling on authorities to publicly denounce every instance of anti-Roma violence, and provide law-enforcement with the relevant training on how to deal with instances involving attacks on national minorities.

The letter to Ukrainian authorities is also available in Russian.

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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.


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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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Macron Election Call Out

5 May 2017

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