Arson Attack Resulting in Death of a Child in Russia

03 April 2006

According to Boris Kreyndel in a 13 November 2005 article posted on the Russian website Citizen's Control, on 10 November 2005 in the town of Iskitim, in Russia's Novosibirsk region, two Romani houses were burned in apparent arson attacks. One Romani woman sustained severe injures and her 7 years-old child died three days later due to the arson attack.

The incident is the culmination of a wave of violence against Roma that has remained without efficient law enforcement response to date. In particular, on 14 February 2005, approximately twenty individuals attacked and burned a number of Romani houses in the same town. According to reports, the assailants managed to destroy entirely ten dwellings in the course of the attack. After the incident, the Romani inhabitants were forced to leave their houses. Similar acts of violence had reportedly also taken place in January and April 2005. Further information about attacks of this kind and human rights abuse of Roma in Russia is available in the ERRC's Country Report titled In Search of Happy Gypsies: Persecution of Pariah Minorities in Russia. The full text of the report is available HERE.

The ERRC has been informed by local human rights activists that a number of criminal investigations on violent incidents have been opened and seven perpetrators have been detained. However, it can be assumed that law enforcement bodies and the local municipality did little or nothing to prevent further arson attacks on Romani houses and racial violence against Romani people. While the authorities have taken some steps, they have been inadequate as the attacks continued and, moreover, resulted in a death of a child.

On 17 November 2005, the ERRC sent a letter of concern to Mr Vlamidir Tokarev, Prosecutor of the Novosibirsk Oblast, copied to the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation and to the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, following up on a similar letter sent in February 2005. In March, the deputy prosecutor of Novosibirsk, Mr Afanasiev, responded promising to act on ERRC's concerns. In the 17 November 2005 letter, the ERRC called upon Mr Tokarev to ensure that all perpetrators involved in the recent violent arson attacks on the homes of Roma in Iskitim are swiftly brought to justice, and that the victims be protected from further abuse. The complete text of the letter is available at:



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