More than 400 pro-Roma and Roma organizations and activists, including a number of Albanian entities, have condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and demanded respect for human rights.
In a statement signed by stakeholders around the world, they call on governments and world leaders to provide equal access to humanitarian assistance to all people affected by the conflict, including Roma and other marginalized and vulnerable people .
According to government sources, there are at least 50,000 Roma living in Ukraine, the majority of whom have no official documents.
“From World War II to the Balkan wars of the late 1990s, history has shown us that in times of war or conflict, the plight of Roma and other minorities is continually ignored. Ethnic minorities are often made invisible and further victimized instead of being given equal protection,” the statement said.
They note that those stranded and bombed include Roma, people of African descent, stateless people, migrants, women, the elderly, the sick and disabled, and children in state care.
As part of the statement, they call on the authorities to ensure that the 400,000 vulnerable people have equal protection and safety when seeking refuge, as well as to guarantee equal access to aid and support. They also called for special attention to be given to monitoring human rights violations against Roma and other groups, and for the UN to work closely with communities to ensure that they do not are not discriminated against.
Regarding the media, they said they, as well as politicians, should not use the war to promote “inflammatory and racist portrayals of marginalized groups, including Roma”, as this increases stigma. and increases the risk of further violence against them.
“We in civil society will continue to collect information on the situation of Roma inside and outside Ukraine, including evidence of alleged discrimination or other human rights violations. man, and to keep the European and international institutions and the treaty bodies concerned informed”, he concludes.
Albanian signatories include Roma Active Albania, Institute of Romani Culture in Albania, Youth Voice network of organizations in Albania, Balkan Youth Activism, Useful to Albanian Women, Committee on National Minorities, Child Rights Center Albania, Voice of Roma in Albania, Youth for Social Changes, Vatra, and several well-known Roma and human rights activists.