Human Rights and Xenophobia
Around 2500 nationalists marched through Kyiv city center on April 3. Oleh Tyahnybok, Ukrainian politician and the head of the right-wing party “Svoboda”, led the march.
Latest reports by Freedom House and Department of State that were presented on the 20th of April mark ambivalent tendencies in the development of Ukrainian democracy. A report published by Freedom House shows that there are positive trends in democratic development on the regional level while there are almost no significant changes in such indicators as democratic governance of the central government, electoral process, judicial independence and the fight against corruption. A report published by Department of State shows that human rights violations continue to occur in Ukraine, as well as abuses related to corruption in the government and censorship.
On April 25, members of an ultranationalist organization, C14 rioted Roma camp in Kyiv.
Ultranationalist threatened inhabitants with knives, stones, baseball bats and even pistols. The victims of the attack say that the nationalists not only threatened with violence but also used it. Head of the Kyiv Police Department Andrei Krischenko stated that there were no complaints from the Roma regarding beatings or abuse. At the same, representatives of the Roma people claim that they have called the police number of times and that only one patrol car showed up in half of an hour after the incident.
Activist tried to draw attention to the violence against Roma people. On April 27, around 30 people held a demonstration in front of Kyiv central police station demanding a careful investigation of the incident.
On May 2, eco-activist and anarchist Rodion Bagayev was attacked in Lviv. Attackers later were identified as members of ultranationalist political party “National Corpus” and NGO “National Militia”. Group of six people attacked Rodion Bagayev after the end of the lecture "The price of "anti-crisis "reforms: the impact on young people and women".
Another attack on Roma camp in Lviv happened on May 9. This time unknown attackers burned down the camp. The fire destroyed all the property of the Roma who were forced to leave the settlement. Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament of Ukraine) stated that such cases of xenophobia should be treated with extra attention in order to prevent similar crimes in future.
Lecture organized by Amnesty international and devoted to the LGBT-movements in Russia was stopped on May 10 in Kyiv. Later on, members of such ultranationalist organizations as “Tradition and Order”, “Katechon”, “Zentropa”, “Sisterhood of St. Olga” came to Ukrainian city Chernivtsi to stop the “Festival of equality” (festival devoted to the human rights of LGBT people and human rights in general) that should have taken place in media center “Belle Vue” on May 19. Police did not prevent the ultranationalists from entering the building. The participants of the event were told that the bomb was planted in the building and then were evacuated. Ultranationalists used pepper spray against the participants during the evacuation and tried to haunt them afterwards.
On May 23, group of people attacked the Roma camp in Ternopil oblast. According to the law enforcement officers, police has received a call from a woman, who told that unknown people attacked Roma camp that was situated in the forest. Witnesses said that the shots were heard in the woods. According to the police 12 people were arrested after the incident (among them were juveniles).
Next act of violence against Roma people happened in Kyiv on June 7. Activists of National Militia sent an ultimatum to inhabitants of one more Roma camp in Kyiv. Most of them have fled the place, allowing ultranationalist to destroy the settlement.
Annual March for Equality devoted to the protection of human rights and rights of LGBT “Kyiv Pride” took place in Kyiv on June 17. The number of participants doubled this year: around six thousand people attended the event.
Police reported two attempts to block the march. Representatives of the ultranationalist organization's “Tradition and Order” and “C14” gathered in the city center on the morning before the event. The far-right tried to occupy one of the streets through which route of the march ran. Police asked the protesters to leave the place. Ultranationalist refused to obey police instructions. Police forces tried to push back the protesters, while they used pepper sprays and tried to violently confront internal security forces. In the result, 57 ultranationalists were arrested while several far-right activists were injured.
Afterwards, ultranationalist blocked the road before the police department where arrested far-right activists were detained demanding to free them. Although during the march, there were no significant incidents long before the start of the event ultranationalist allegedly started an internet campaign against participants of the event. Some internet users urged people to take part in so-called Safari – hunting and beating of LGBT activists.
The end of June was marked by a tragic event. Another violent attack on Roma camp in Lviv resulted in death of 23-year-old man David Pap.
On the night of June 24 organization, “Sober and Evil Youth” (“Tvereza ta Zla Molod”) used knives and hammers to break down the Roma settlement.
During the mayhem, activist stabbed David and injured 10-year old girl. The criminal case was instituted on intentional murder and hooliganism. According to various reports, from 7 to 14 people are suspected in the attack. Several people have been detained without the right to bail.
On April 6, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine Oleksandr Shubin stated that each year around 400 Ukrainians are dying in industries facilities while more than 5 thousand workers are injured. Oleksandr Shubin stressed that the data is incomplete due to the size of the shadow economy and practice of withholding information about incidents by employers. According to Shubin, main reasons for such data are unsatisfactory work safety conditions in many industries, low attention to the industrial safety given by both the employers and state bodies, and the lack of training of employees and officials on these issues.
On April 11, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman stated that Ukraine should counteract the rising level of immigration. Earlier, number of Ukrainian and American experts noted that immigration of Ukrainians might endanger both national economy and demographic situation. Volodumyr Groysman believes that Ukrainians can be employed in the domestic market, but their qualification must be increased.
On May 1 in Kryvyi Rih, more than 300 workers held a demonstration.
Workers from the metallurgical giant “ArcelorMittal” and other metallurgical and mining enterprises were demanding decent working conditions, abandonment of outsourcing schemes that are introduced to save money on labor and raise of monthly salary up to 1,000 euros.
On May 15, in the nine railway depots around the country workers began an Italian strike. Workers were demanding higher salaries and refitting of faulty locomotives that nevertheless were in active use. The day after the Italian strike started on ArcelorMittal. Once again, workers were trying to raise their salaries up to 1000 euros.
On June 8, organization “Social Movement” (“Socialnyu Rukh”) that arranged workers conference, which claimed a salary raise, received lawsuit from “ArcelorMittal” on the case of the illegality of the named above conference.