Strategy for Roma integration needs revision – Ombudswoman office
The Verkhovna Rada's Ombudswoman's office has said the current Roma integration strategy is not working and should be revised.
"There is a need to update the action plan for the implementation of this strategy, which is not currently being implemented. Perhaps even we need to think about updating the strategy itself. Priorities need to be set. There is a need to set a time frame for implementing the strategy," Andriy Mamalyha, a representative of the ombudswoman's office for partnership with civilian institutions, said during a roundtable meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday, July 31.
In his opinion, the government, in fact, is inactive when conflict situations arise around the Roma communities in various regions of Ukraine.
"State agencies do not get involved in these processes. They did not take certain steps, and this led to the death of a Romani man in Lviv," Mamalyha said.
Natalia Borodych, the head of the Human Rights Monitoring Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, refuted the assertion.
"As for the case with Roma in Lviv, the police arrived promptly, officials also reacted to this crime, but it should be noted that some people try to use these conflicts with Roma as a way to destabilize the situation in Ukraine [...] After that there were a number of crimes against Roma, criminal proceedings were opened on all cases, "she said.
Borodych said after the incident in Lviv response groups were strengthened, a number of preventive measures were developed, local authorities intensified work with the residents and a working group on these issues began meeting regularly at her ministry.
The director of the Department of Religions and Nationalities Affairs of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Andriy Yurash, said the government's Roma strategy should be changed.
"When developing the strategy, we should also focus on the regional aspect, as in each region the problems associated with Roma communities are very different and for each region the regional strategy should be separate. We would insist on introducing in every area where the Roma communities are large, for example, in Zakarpattia and Lviv regions, a separate official in the regional administration responsible for Roma issues," he said.