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06.02.2008

Ministry of Justice not convinced over racism problem in Ukraine

   

The Ministry of Justice has posted a text on its official website asserting that statements about the existence of racism as a phenomenon in Ukraine are incorrect.  The Ministry maintains that at present one can speak only of isolated incidents. Each case is thoroughly investigated, with the motives being established and the appropriate legal assessment given.

The Minister Mykola Onishchuk presented this view on 4 February during a meeting with Ake Petersen, representing the General Secretary of the Council of Europe on coordinating cooperation programmes with Ukraine.

Mr Petersen had expressed concern over the killing of a Congolese asylum seeker.  As reported, his body was found in Kyiv on 27 January with numerous knife wounds.

Mr Onishchuk stated that the motives for the killing had not been established and that it would be premature to assume a racial motive. He added that he was sure a thorough investigation would be carried out.

As reported, the UHHCR Press Secretary William Schpindler stated at the weekend that: “The UN office in Ukraine, the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration have informed the Ukrainian authorities of their deep concern over this murder and have called for the investigators to consider whether it could have been a racially-motivated attack”, Mr Schpindler added that the UN institutions were calling on the authorities to inform them of the results of the investigation.

In June last year the UNHCR expressed concern over a rise in attacks on refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine. In 2007 17 such incidents were recorded.

At the same time the UNHCR welcomed Ukraine’s efforts in resolving this problem, particularly in appointing a special emissary for this purpose.

From the statement posted at www.minjust.gov.ua

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