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Interethnic relations

Rightwing radicals raising their heads in Chernihiv


According to the Programme Director of the Chernihiv Public Committee for the Protection of Human Rights, Tukhan Yediyev, radical rightwing youth groups have become more active in Chernihiv.

  In the last few days there have been two street marches with xenophobic slogans, while in the Internet and city papers material has begun appearing of an anti-migrant nature. The participants in one of the marches, organized by the rightwing political party VO “Svoboda” [the Liberty Party], did not conceal their antagonism towards foreigners. 

  Tukhan Yediyev believes that a by no means minor role in fuelling antagonism is played by myths, circulated by the press, about migrants held in the temporary holding facilities for foreign nationals and stateless persons in the village of Rozsudiv in the Chernihiv region.  “A distorted picture is presented of the life of migrants claiming that they live in good conditions, while the holding centre’s administration find them work in Ukraine and the EU, on which a large amount of State funding is supposedly spent. Or that migrants bring unusual diseases”.  Mr Yediyev points out that the Sanitary and Epidemiological Inspectorate there is no data to suggest that a migrant or asylum seeker has brought a dangerous illness into Ukraine. All those who arrive at the holding centre receive a medical examination. 

  The ethical principles of media work, journalist responsibility and professional standards in covering the issues of migration and asylum were discussed on Tuesday at a meeting in Chernihiv between UN and State Committee for Nationalities and Religion representatives, human rights activists and journalists.  Yediyev is convinced that it is important to tell local journalists how migrants really live and why they come here in order to avoid enmity both in the media and in everyday life. Chechnya, inflicting serious injuries. Brawls between members of the “Antifa” movement and neo-Nazis have become routine in the city. A similar fight took place recently in Kharkiv with about five people, including girls and minors, were injured and hospitalized.

The human rights group has itself been the butt of this antagonism. The Chernihiv Public Committee for the Protection of Human Rights offices had the words “Shame to defenders of migrants!” daubed on them. Mr Yediyev explains that this happened after they provided humanitarian assistance – items of personal hygiene and clothing to the centre in Rozsudiv. He adds that asylum seekers are presently in a legal vacuum throughout the country since there is presently no State body which has the power to grant asylum to those who need it.

Adapted from information at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4987574,00.html

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