In Kyiv camp of Romani people burned after being abandoned due to threats

Дата: 06 April 2017
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The rest of Romani camp burned near Berezniaky district of Kyiv. Residents of the camp left earlier because of threats.

Romani people are leaving the camp

As reported by Olga Vesnianka, journalist of Chiriklo Radio (Romani radio program and a joint program with Hromadske Radio) to the Human Rights Information Centre.

According to her, Romani people, who are living near the Nyzhnii Telbin lake in the Berezniaky district of Kyiv, have received regular threats for the last several months. However, human rights defenders have discussed whether it was worth to publicly declare about these threats, so as not to provoke more terrible actions.

“And we agreed that it is necessary to talk about this, but quietly, or in an expert human rights environment. Just a week ago, representatives of the Chiricli Charitable Foundation sent an appeal to international organizations about threats and wrote a statement to the National Police. How this happened…”, – said Vesnianka.

According to her, volunteers of the Youth for Peace organization, who were engaged with children in this camp, reported that on Friday, March 31, at 5 am, men in balaclavas came to the camp and threatened its residents, photographed them, took their fingerprints and told them to “get out”, because Eurovision is happening soon. This greatly scared the residents of the camp.

Given these circumstances, in the first place women and children moved to their homes in Zakarpattia. And men, who have earning and some families in Kyiv, stayed.

“Now it is difficult to establish the chronology of events, who left and when, but Romani people are frightened and are not ready to talk about these events”, – noted Vesnianka.

“The faces of our children, Valya, Stepan, Claudia, Timaeus, a very funny Robik and small Tibor are before my eyes. How they wake up scared, how they are afraid to look out of the tent and can not look in to the camera, when they are photographed by a dude in a balaclava. And I imagine this queue of people, who were waiting to be photographed. And how they ask themselves why this is happening to them. They are crying and children who do not yet understand why their diversity is so terrible that adults who with force and power organize special operations at 5 am”, – as Olga Makar, volunteer of the Youth for Peace organizations, wrote on Facebook page.

As reported by Zola Kondur, representative of the Roma Fund Chiricli, to the reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre. Romani people received information that an attack was being prepared for the camp. They were frightened for their children and left the camp.

As reported by Kyiv Operative, “local activists” dismantled and burned the Romani camp. They want to make a garden square on that place.

“Today, thanks to local activists, the settlement of the Romani people was completely dismantled, on Sortuvalna Street. It is reported that a garden square is planned to be made at that place. The remains of the camp were set on fire at night. Group of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine workers are currently working on the site”, – as reported on the Facebook page of the Kyiv Operative.

Andiry Strannikov, Deputy of the Kyiv City Council and the Chairman of the budget and socio-economic development, has initiated the expulsion of the Romani people.

Iryna Vyrtosu, Chief Editor of the Human Rights Information Centre, recalled that in 2012 the Romani camp in Berezniaky was also dispersed and burned, before the Euro 2012 football championship.

As a reminder, in late August 2016, residents of the village Loshchynivka of the Izmail district of Odessa region destroyed houses of Romani minority after a man, allegedly of Romani nationality, was charged with the murder of a 9 year old girl. Furious residents of the village mainly destroyed the houses of people who settled there 3 years ago. As a result, one house was set on fire and in others furniture was damaged and glass broken.

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