Kharkiv Police through the eyes of foreign residents


41% of the foreign nationals living in Kharkiv experienced some harassment on religious or racial / ethnic grounds in 2010/2011.

The survey was carried out by the Kharkiv Human Rights Group with the support of the German Foundation “Memory, Responsibility and the Future” at the end of 2011 91% foreign nationals from a wide range of countries were surveyed with the aim being to establish the relations between foreign nationals and the police, as well as assessment of the prospects.

The questions were designed to ascertain:

1. Whether the respondents had been subjected to racial, ethnic or religious harassment and how the police had reacted;

2. Whether the police discriminated against foreign national, applying “ethnic profiling”, detaining people according to their appearance to check documents;

3. Whether the respondents had been subjected to racial, ethnic or religious harassment by police officers themselves.

Of the 91 respondents, 61 were male, 30 female.

3 said that during 2010-2011 they had often been harassed on religious or racial / ethnic grounds; 37 – that this had happened; while 51 said that they had never been harassed.

The harassment constituted:

- abuse – 26 people;

- threats – 7 people;

- physical assault – 7 people.

4 people had frequently reported harassment to the police; 15 had on occasion; while 21 had never reported such incidents.

Asked what effect approaching the police had had, all the 19 who had done so answered that it was a waste of time.

Had they been detained (stopped) by Kharkiv police officers?

Yes, often 16 people;

On occasion 72 people;

Never 3 people.

If they had been detained (stopped), why?

to check their documents 61 people

to demand (ask for) documents and money 12 people

because of their appearance 6 people

looking for drugs 2 people

for no reason 7 people

Had they been detained by police officers even when they had documents with them?

yes, often 8

yes, on occasion 38

no, never 42

How had they obtained their release?

gave money 41

bought something (beer, cigarettes, coffee,

gave things 6

the officers held them for a long time (from 30 minutes to 6 hours)

then released them 6

they stood up for themselves (for example, they told the police officers to ring the Dean’s Office and get confirmation that they were in Ukraine legally) 8

they were released after a phone call to the UNHCR representative in Kharkiv 3

they didn’t pay anything 8

Had they been subjected to racial, ethnic or religious harassment by police officers in 2010/2011?

no one answered often;

on occasion 12

never 70

Broken down, the harassment constituted:

abuse 12

threats 9

physical assault 3

Only 2 people had frequently reported such harassment; 11 had on occasion and 63 – never.

If they did not, the reasons were:

the harassment was not serious 8

they were scared 10

no time 3

didn’t know where to report it 5

they speak Russian badly 3

no point 31

9 never approach the police.

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