ERRC Welcomes CESCR Concluding Observations on Ukraine
Concluding Observations of the CESCR on Ukraine welcomes the progress but underlines the need for further action.
The European Roma Rights Centre today welcomed the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) on Ukraine. The Committee included a number of concerns regarding the situation of Roma in Ukraine, including police violence, lack of effective protection against discrimination, and the difficulties Roma in accessing employment, health services, education and housing.
The Concluding Observations, issued on 23 November 2007, followed the fifth periodic report of the Ukrainian government on its implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Concluding Observations underlined the cooperation of the Ukrainian government and acknowledged the legislative measures adopted to promote equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination against women, and disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups. The Committee also welcomed the recent ratification of the Revised European Social Charter by Ukraine.
However, the Committee express its concern “regarding the reports about police abuse and denial of effective protection against acts of discrimination and violence committed against ethnic and religious minorities”, including Roma. Furthermore, the Committee noted with concern that more than 1,000 Roma lack personal documents, which are necessary to access employment, health services and education. The Committee underlined that few Roma can find regular employment in State institutions, that the majority of the employed Roma work as unskilled labourers and that discrimination against Romani job applicants is reportedly rife in the country. As far as housing is concerned, according to the Committee, many Roma live in informal settlements and camps lacking basic infrastructures and services, without legal security of tenure and under a constant threat of eviction. The Committee also expressed concern regarding the high drop-out rate amongst Romani children frequent refusal to enrol Romani children in mainstream schools, and their segregation in special classes or special schools for children with mental disabilities.
The Committee issued the following recommendations for the Ukrainian government to improve the situation of Roma in Ukraine:
•Adopting comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and amending its Criminal Code to include provisions on racially-motivated crimes;
•Removing administrative processing fees and bureaucratic requirements, to provide all Roma with personal documents, with a view to enabling them to access employment, health care and education, as well as other economic, social and cultural rights;
•Taking effective measures to combat discrimination against Roma in the field of employment and increase its efforts to reduce Roma unemployment through specifically targeted measures, such as vocational training, job training and placement, financial incentives for employers, and assistance for Roma opening their own businesses;
•Securing the access of all Roma to adequate and affordable housing;
•Adopting special measures to increase school attendance by Roma children, combat discrimination against Roma pupils, promote their admission to mainstream schools and classes, raise awareness among Roma families on the importance of education, including for girls, and provide additional catch-up and Ukrainian and Russian language classes for Roma pupils.
The ERRC calls on the Government of Ukraine to take all the necessary measures to improve the situation of Roma, in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations.
The full text of the Committee’s Concluding Observations are available at:http://www.errc.org/db/02/8C/m0000028C.pdf.