About The Diversity Initiative

Responding to an increase in the number of suspected racially motivated attacks in Ukraine beginning in December 2006, International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amnesty International (AI) and other concerned civil society organizations formed the Diversity Initiative network in April 2007 to begin addressing the issue in a coordinated way.


National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Mistreatment of minority groups and harassment of foreigners of non-Slavic appearance remained problems. NGOs dedicated to combating racism and hate crimes observed that overall xenophobic incidents declined slightly during the year. The law criminalizes deliberate actions to incite hatred or to discriminate based on nationality, race, or religion, including insulting the national honor or dignity of citizens in connection with their religious and political beliefs, race, or skin color. The law imposes increased penalties for hate crimes; premeditated killing on grounds of racial, ethnic, or religious hatred carries a 10 - to 15-year prison sentence. Penalties for other hate crimes include fines of 3,400 to 8,500 hryvnia ($ 215 to $ 538) or imprisonment for up to five year.

Human rights organizations stated the requirement to prove actual intent, including proof of premeditation, to secure a convictionmade application of the law difficult.Through September authorities registered 540 cases of offenses against foreign citizens, 155 of which were resolved.None of the criminal proceedings were prosecuted under the laws on racial, national,or religious offences. 

Police and prosecutors continued to prosecuteracially motivated crimes under laws against hooliganism or related offenses.According to the Prosecutor General’sOffice, authorities registered 26 criminal cases involving racial, national, or religious hatredduring the first eight months of the year. Of these authorities forwarded 12 cases to court. While no official statistics were available on the number of racially motivated attacks, the Diversity InitiativeMonitoring Group, a coalitionof international and local NGOs headed bythe International Organization for Migration mission in Kyiv, reported at least 25 cases involving more than 26 victims of suspected violence on the ground of hatred. Victims of the attacks were migrants from Chad,Egypt, Pakistan, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as Ukrainian citizens of Jewish, Crimean-Tatar,and Romani origin. The main targets of violence were migrants of African origin. Most of the incidents occurred in Kyiv, Odesa, and Simferopol.


On September 13, five men kidnapped a Syrian businessman and detained him for almost a week in the basement of a village home in the Kyiv area. They demanded ransom of one million hryvnias ($63,000). Authorities arrested the men, who were detained for two months on charges of kidnapping, extortion, and torture.Investigation into the case continued at year’s end.


Roma continued to face governmental and societal discrimination, although authorities had become more responsive to Romani community concerns. Romani rights groups estimated the Romani population to be between 200,000 and 400,000. Official census data placed the number at 47,600. The discrepancy in population estimates was due in part to a lack of legal documentation for many Roma. According to experts there were more than 100 Romani NGOs, but most lacked capacity to act as effective advocates or service providers for the Romani community. Romani settlements were mainly located in Transcarpathia, Odesa, and Eastern Ukraine. According to Zola Kondur, head of the Romani women’s organization “Chircili,” there were several attacks against Roma by separatists in eastern Ukraine. In November separatists raped and shot two women and a girl in Antracit after the latter returned to their home, which had been looted. In December separatists attacked Romani residences in Sverdlovsk, stealing property and passports. According to the parliamentary commissioner for human rights, the Romani minority faced significant barriers accessing education, health care, social services, and employment due in part to discriminatory attitudes against them. Very few Roma had personal identity documents proving citizenship and many experienced serious problems in almost every area of life. Local state authorities reportedly created barriers to prevent issuing passports to Romani individuals.

On April 29, a Romani family’s house was set on fire and destroyed in Cherkassy.Police did not intervene to protect the family sufficiently and only did so under pressure from local NGOs and activists. In one case Roma in the town of Chorostyn near Kyiv were forced to flee after a group of masked individuals, armed with baseball bats and pistols, arrived in luxury vehicles. After Romani men and women endured beatings by the group and surrendered their money, jewelry, and other valuables, they were forced to packtheir bags and move to relatives’ homes.

NGOs reported a lack of schooling remained a significant problem within the Romani community.


See full report - http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236800.pdf