This statement was delivered by Yulian Kondur in the name of MRG and Chirikli at the Human Rights Council’s Interactive Dialogue on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, 49th Session, held on Wednesday 30 March 2022.
Thank you Chair,
On behalf of Roma Women Fund Chirikli and Minority Rights Group, we urgently draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to the situation of Roma and other marginalized minorities in Ukraine, following the invasion of the Russian Federation. We strongly condemn misinformation regarding the situation of Roma and other minorities and the instrumentalization of minority rights by the Russian Federation at the UN and internationally to justify its illegal actions.
As specialized NGOs working on minority rights in Ukraine, we cannot accept that the legitimate advocacy for the right to equality for all Ukrainians be instrumentalized to make the case for war. Roma face discrimination in all parts of Europe, including in Ukraine, but Roma CSOs have always been able to work freely and cooperate with the Ukrainian authorities, to address these issues. We have always been able to raise our concerns, including here at the UN, without fear of reprisals.
The invasion by Russia has led to loss of life, mass displacement and dramatic impacts for Roma and all Ukrainians. We have documented cases of Roma not being able to receive safe passage, due to a lack of documentation, as well as cases of discrimination in the allocation of humanitarian assistance in countries hosting and receiving refugees. Similar cases have also been documented relating to students and other residents of African origin or descent. We are also deeply concerned by ongoing reports of arbitrary detention and disappearance of indigenous Crimean Tatar activists undertaken by Russian authorities on Ukrainian territory.
We call on international humanitarian actors, including the UNHCR, to cooperate with networks of Roma, CSOs, human rights monitors and mediators, which have now been established in Ukraine and countries receiving refugees from Ukraine, in order to ensure equal access to humanitarian assistance and refugee status.
I thank you.