Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on Ukraine
Strasbourg, 21.02.2012 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday published a new report on Ukraine. ECRI’s Chair ad interim, François Sant’Angelo, said that, while there have been some improvements, there are still concerns in most areas covered by the Commission’s mandate.
Thus, although the Government has drawn up plans of action against xenophobia and racial and ethnic discrimination, the disbanding of the State Committee for Nationalities and Religion has left a vacuum in this connection. The country has no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. Moreover, despite the authorities’ intention to strengthen the legislation on asylum, the refugee-status determination procedures have been frozen on several occasions.
Admittedly, there are less racist attacks. However, the problem is far from resolved. Hate speech is often left untackled, although the number of antisemitic publications has dropped. The authorities are, of course, aware of the need to deal with neo-Nazi and skinhead football fans. Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Interior has abandoned its efforts to monitor racist incidents and groups systematically. Moreover, the extent of the problem is masked because perpetrators of hate crime tend to be prosecuted as hooligans.
The situation of Crimean Tartars has not improved. Neither has that of Roma, many of whom lack identity documents, despite some municipalities’ efforts to promote their social inclusion. Police misconduct against this and other vulnerable groups, such as migrants and asylum-seekers, is also frequently reported.
In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations, among which the following three require priority implementation and will be revisited in two years’ time:
identify the body that will coordinate the work on combating racism and racial discrimination and ensure that its staff have strong expertise in these fields;
guarantee at all times fair and effective refugee-status determination procedures and finally settle the issue of who is responsible;
set up an independent body for receiving complaints about racism and racial discrimination against the police.
ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language, as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.
For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri
Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28, [email protected]