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October 14, 2019
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International Renaissance Foundation: Stop Ethnic Violance in Slovyansk!

Slovyansk, 19.4.2014 16:46, (ROMEA)
Pro-Russian radicals with the flag of the Republic of Donyetsk (PHOTO:  Czech News Agency)
Pro-Russian radicals with the flag of the Republic of Donyetsk (PHOTO: Czech News Agency)

In Slovyansk, the Eastern Ukraine, separatists began riots targeted at Roma residing in the city. The armed separatists burst into houses inhabited by Roma, beaten and robbed them regardless of gender or age, UNIAN reports. According to this report, they have beaten even women and children. Separatists said that they operate under the direct order of their "people's mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev". The armed men loaded the property of Roma families in the truck, eyewitnesses say.

While military and political conflicts the most vulnerable groups are the minorities. They often are victims of massacres and one of the first hostages of the actions made by aggressors.

During World War II, the Roma have become the second largest nation suffered from the actions of the Nazis. During World War II more than 500 000 Roma were exterminated. In Ukraine they were among the first victims of mass tragedy at Babi Yar.

In order to intimidate and destabilize the situation in Eastern Ukraine the separatists choose the most vulnerable group of people as their target. Ukrainian and international communities must respond immediately to prevent separatists' ethnic cleansing attempts in Slaviansk area.

For many years The International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) support comprehensive integration of the Roma people into a social life of Ukraine strengthening at the same time cultural identity of Roma. The IRF refers to Ombudsman of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministries of Culture and Social Policy to verify the information on Roma pogroms in Slovyansk and take all the necessary steps to stop violence against Roma, as well any kind of human rights abuse based on ethnic grounds.

Yevhen Bystrytsky
Executive director of International Renaissance Foundation

Olga Zhmurko
Director of Roma of Ukraine Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation

Roma Virtual Network, International Renaissance Foundation
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