Ukraine: Racists attack Romani family of four, setting fire to their home and threatening a pregnant woman with rape
The European Roma Rights Centre reports that in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, two men attacked the temporary dwelling of a four-member Romani family at the end of April. The men drove the family out of their tent, physically assaulted the father, and set the tent on fire.
Two years ago on almost the exact same day a similar attack was committed in Lysá Hora Park in Kyiv by members of C14, an organization of the ultra-right. In this new case, all four victims were adults, a couple who are expecting a baby and the husband's parents.
The family is originally from the Transcarpathian Region and usually work in Hungary. They were forced to relocate to Kyiv because of COVID-19 quarantine measures in Hungary that made it no longer possible for them to work there.
As Vita Zinevich, a community worker and volunteer who was bringing the family food told the ERRC, the pregnant woman begged the assailants not to use tear gas against them because of her pregnancy. The attackers are said to have responded by threatening to rape her and assaulting her husband.
While the family ran to call for help, the assailants set their tent on fire and destroyed all of the family's property, including their documents. Zinevich told the ERRC that despite the fact that the family's campsite was across the street from a tall building from which the rising smoke of the tent going up in flames must have been visible, no local residents called the police to respond.
Firefighters and police were eventually called by a woman working near the campsite. She told the ERRC that at 5 AM she was asked by the expecting father to call the police because his family had been attacked.
Local police said a patrol had been sent to the scene but no investigation had been opened at the time because the victims had not insisted on it. The Deputy Director of the Department of Investigation, Maxim Bondarenko, told the ERRC that investigators are currently looking for the victims in order to compile their statements and begin an investigation.
The current location of the family is unknown. The ERRC, which is based in Brussels, is involved in the case and doing its best to establish contact with the family.
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