Ukrainian authorities must investigate violent police raid against roma

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is urging Ukrainian authorities to investigate a violent police raid on a Roma settlement in Uzgorod. The ERRC sent a letter to the police chief and prosecutor regarding the incident, which took place on 11 January, 2012.

A special assignment unit within the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, Berkut, burst into the Radvanka settlement in the early morning, according to media reports and testimonies from local residents. The law enforcement officials used tear gas and beat residents with rubber batons. The raid on the settlement had been planned and carried out as part of an ongoing operation to target places that could be centres of organised criminal activity.

The law enforcement officials violated domestic law in using batons and tear gas on women, children, older people and people with disabilities in the community. The officials extended reasonable suspicion of individuals, who may have been implicated in criminal activities, to the whole community. This raises serious questions as to the impartiality and legality of the action.

The ERRC is calling on the authorities to launch an official investigation into the legality of the militia actions in Uzgorod. If the results show that these actions were unlawful, the perpetrators must be held accountable under Ukrainian law. The ERRC also recommends that authorities provide training to stop similar actions from occurring in the future.

Sinan Gokçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer
[email protected]

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