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16.12.2008

Call for improvements on legislation against discrimination

   

Members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union [UHHRU] spoke at a press conference on Wednesday on problems with combating discrimination in Ukraine.

According to Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (one of the UHHRU members), Yevhen Zakharov, problems with xenophobia and racism have increased over the last three years, and legislative measures are needed to combat them.  During a roundtable discussion today, the following necessary measures were highlighted:

an anti-discrimination law;

the creation of a special anti-discrimination state body;

mechanisms for gathering information about cases of discrimination, the actions of the authorities and assistance provided to victims of discrimination.

UHHRU Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky noted that there was insufficient action being taken to implement the recommendations made by the UN and Council of Europe structures on improving the situation.  He added that half of the authorities, for example, the Ministry of Justice, simply deny the existence of discrimination in Ukraine, claiming that such cases are isolated and not a systemic problem.  On the other hand, the Ministry of Internal Affairs does recognize that a problem exists and is taking certain steps towards combating it.

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