ERRC Investigating Far-Right Attack on Roma in Kiev

By Jonathan Lee

On April 21st 2018, members of the far-right group C14 drove fifteen Romani families from their makeshift homes in the Lysa Hora nature reserve in Kiev, Ukraine. Carrying weapons, they chased down fleeing parents carrying small children, threw stones at them, and then set fire to the tents where the Roma had been living. Serhiy Mazur, a prominent C14 Nazi, posted photos on Facebook, boasting that they had driven the Roma from the mountain. 

The ERRC are investigating the raid and the possibility of bringing legal action against those responsible. The organisation is in contact with local and national authorities, as well as local civil society to ensure that appropriate action is taken.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHRP) reported that the raid was the result of collaboration between C14 members of the so-called ‘Municipal Guard’ (Муніципальна варта) and the Holosiyiv District Administration. The head of this ‘Municipal Guard’, Serhiy Bondar, is a C14 member who signed a memorandum of cooperation with both the Holosiyiv District Administration and the Holosiyiv National Police in December 2017. 

Mazur visited the camp the previous day with some skinhead thugs and representatives of the Holosiyiv District Administration to tell the Roma to leave by the next day, or else. After the Roma were driven off, he claimed that they had been convinced to leave through convincing lawful arguments. 

“Yesterday they did not carry out the demand, and only some left the camp in the park.  However after convincing lawful arguments, the others also decided to leave the prohibited territory.” Serhiy Mazur, C14

However, a  video appeared on 25th April showing masked white skinheads chasing after Romani families and throwing stones at them. 

Zola Kondur from the Chirikli Roma Foundation says that the local people and administration had refused to accept the Roma at Lysa Hora for last four years.  She says that the people living there wanted to integrate and to cooperate with the authorities, but non-Roma residents of the district demanded that the Roma not be allowed on public transport or in shops. 

She condemns Holosiyiv District Administration for not involving social services and utilising far-right intimidation tactics. The location of the camp, she says, positioned deep inside the nature reserve at Lysa Hora was hard to find and not disturbing anybody.

Goloseevskiy Police Department  have opened an investigation and started started criminal proceedings based on “violation of the equality of citizens based on race nationality, or religion” and “hooliganism” after the publication of the video of the attack. The ERRC and partners will be monitoring to ensure their investigation is impartial and thorough.

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