Edita Stejskalová: OSCE should send observer missions to Ukraine regarding pogroms against Roma and monitor the police investigation
Speaking on Slovak Radio's "Romani Word" (Rómské slovo) program, political scientist Edita Stejskalová said she believes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should take action regarding the recent fatal attacks against Romani people in Ukraine by creating an observer mission to monitor the investigation of the recent pogroms against Roma there. Stejskalová reminded listeners that from 2008-2009 such attacks against Roma were perpetrated in Hungary, that police in Slovakia have attacked Romani settlements in similar ways, and that a similar neo-Nazi arson attack in the Czech Republic led to the severe burning of a Romani child, Natálka.
The media are currently reporting such pogroms against Romani people in Ukraine. "This is a problem for all of Central Europe, but such attacks even happen in France," Stejskalová said in the interview, adding that she believes governments are not taking enough steps to provide protection to all of their citizens.
"The governments live in relative calm when it comes to this issue because civil society is not playing the role it should," said Stejskalová. "That sector must be louder and stronger."
Stejskalová believes it is important the OSCE get involved in the situation. "I am surprised that the OSCE is not paying enough attention to this," she said.
"One component of their agenda could be creating observer missions, because it's one thing that the crimes are happening, these pogroms against Romani people, but the question is how they are being investigated," she said. "We are reading in the media that for the time being nobody has been charged and that the way the information is being handled looks more like obfuscation."
"These scandalous cases in Ukraine are, on the one hand, examples of organized crime, but on the other hand they also substantiate accusations of terrorism," Stejskalová said. German activist and journalist Markus Pape was also interviewed on the program and said it is necessary to do something about the attacks very quickly.
"For the time being we do not know if this is a first wave of such attacks or whether they have been ongoing for years and the media is only now noticing. It is necessary for local authorities, EU bodies and UN bodies to focus on this and to pressure the Ukrainian Government to properly investigate these attacks and prevent their recurrence," Pape said.
Neo-Nazis have recently been attacking Romani people in Ukraine on a regular basis, with the most serious such attack happening in the late night hours of 23 June and early morning hours of 24 June when a Romani man was stabbed to death and other Romani people were injured, including a 10-year-old boy. At the beginning of this month a Romani woman was also murdered in the town of Berehovo in the southern Transarpathian area, where Hungarian-Speaking Romani people live.
Arsonists also set fire to a house in the town of Perechyn. The Romani mother and her three children who were asleep in that home at the time fortunately managed to escape.
Prior to that incident there was an attack on 7 June in which neo-Nazis from the Azov National Militia used axes and hammers against a Romani encampment. That pogrom took place in a public park and was broadcast live on Facebook without police intervening at all.
In May neo-Nazi criminals attacked a Romani encampment in the western town of Ternopil. That attack was followed by arson in the nearby village of Rudne in Lviv Region.
In April members of the C14 neo-Nazi group drove Romani people away from an encampment in the Lysa Hora nature reserve in Kyiv. The masked assailants in that attack threw rocks and sprayed tear gas at the Romani children, men and women there.
- Ukraine: Recent pogroms against Roma costing lives around the country
- Ukraine: One Romani man killed and others injured, including child, during yet another neo-Nazi pogrom
- NGO representatives from 20 countries attend ODIHR/OSCE round table on monitoring demonstrations and keeping them nonviolent
- Romani journalist from Macedonia raises forced marriage at the OSCE
- LIVE WEBCAST: OSCE conference reviews the rights of the child today and will touch on the discrimination of Romani children in education
- OSCE meeting on human rights includes session on Roma and Sinti
- European Roma Rights Centre gives legal aid to victims alleging Slovak police brutality
- VIDEO: Ostentatious homes built by Roma community in Romania reflect their desire for prestige
- Slovakia: Video of police intervention against Roma at gas station goes viral, sparks protests
- Czech politicians react to Communist MP's false allegation that honoring the Roma victims of Nazism has raised the price of pork
- Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini faces criticism for calling Romani woman a "dirty gypsy"
- Jozef Miker: Those who care about the homeless in the Czech Republic are bringing them food for free
- Italian Police raid ultra-right extremists, confiscate air-to-air missile from Qatar
- French court convicts six arsonists of attack on Romani people
- Czech court says use of force in response to racist abuse was proportionate, prosecutor appeals
- Slovak homeowner considers selling to Roma, so his neighbors graffiti his house and puncture his tires
- Czech MP says his assistant's remark that refugees could be killed with machine guns does not bother him
- French lawmaker, victimized herself by online hate, drafts law against it