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Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory practices in relation to national minorities, LGBT, and so-called “wrong” religious denominations continued during the observed period.

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the UN Economic and Social Council in its comments on the Sixth Periodic Report of Ukraine noted that many Roma do not have personal documents. The strategy for the protection and integration of the Roma national minority in Ukrainian society for the period up to 2020 year and the National Action Plan for the implementation of this strategy are not funded. The Committee proposed to collect statistical data on the number and position of Roma, to simplify the receipt of personal documents for them. In the Odessa and Transcarpathian regions, special “Roma schools” continued to exist, many Roma children studied in the so-called “correctional schools” only on the basis of their origin. Roma in Uzhgorod, living on the outskirts of Kiev are also discriminated. They suffered from lack of drinking water, unsanitary conditions, lack of access to medical care and education.

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the UN Economic and Social Council regretted the lack of information on the suppression of discrimination against LGBT people. In Kiev in July 2014, the gay pride parade was cancelled on the pretext that the authorities can not provide security for its participants.

Civil society organizations signal examples of declarative norms, their non-fulfilment or violations of national minority rights in Ukraine.

During the regular meeting of the Council of Interethnic Concord at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on March 5, 2015, representatives of the Romanian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Belarusian and a number of other national communities stated in their speeches the facts of discrimination of their representatives in certain regions, difficulties with holding national holidays and preserving the national culture, lack of facilities for holding community meetings, etc.

At the meeting of representatives of organizations of national minorities and other public organizations Lviv and Lviv region in June 2015 a number of organizations have sharply criticized the approaches that the Ukrainian authorities are demonstrating today against national minorities, among them the Belarusian community of Lviv, the Tatar society, the Western Greek community.

Report titled “Roma and War. Roma residents of Eastern Ukraine who suffered from the war: refugees, immigrants, victims of violence”, by the anti-discrimination centre “Memorial” states that in general, the position of the Roma population of Ukraine remains difficult: according to Ukrainian experts, traditional discrimination of this minority remains, stereotypes are prevalent and prejudice. Olga Zhmurko, director of the Roma program initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, notes: “The situation with Roma rights leaves much to be desired. The new position of Government Commissioner on Ethnopolitical Issues was established recently, but so far everything that it does has a declarative character and does not open up large horizons for the Roma communities. Everything remains at the same level thanks to the complete reluctance of the Ministry of Culture to make significant progress. It has been, as in Russia, recently dealing with issues of national minorities. In cases where the authorities are trying to transfer some authority on this issue to the Ministry of Social Development, which, in theory, should do this, it always refuses, motivating it by the fact that they do not have the means, the opportunities to pull this program”.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Commissioner for Human Rights, in its annual Report for 2015, noted the ineffective implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy for the Protection and Integration of the Roma National Minority into the Ukrainian Society for the period up to 2020 by central and local public authorities and the preservation of outstanding earlier raised problems in relation to the Roma national minority. This is also confirmed by the Report on the State of the Implementation of the State Policy on Roma, published in 2015, based on the results of public monitoring of the implementation of the Action Plan, which was prepared by 11 Roma human rights organizations in cooperation with the Ombudsman's Secretariat and with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. The program is practically not financed from the state budget.

On the part of the Hungarian government, in 2015, regret was expressed about the non-observance of the voting rights of the Hungarian national minority in Ukraine. The reason for this statement was the decision of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine to create new constituencies before the local elections that took place in October 2015. The Hungarian government stated that the creation of new constituencies in the Beregovo district, where the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian-speaking population of Transcarpathia resides, by dividing it into four districts that do not fit together is a gross violation of the Ukrainian election law. “The model of the new borders of electoral districts may negatively affect the chances of Hungarians joining the Transcarpathian Regional Council, even when two Hungarian organizations joined their efforts in order to represent the interests of the Hungarians,” the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban's office reported. This is an agreement between the organizations KMKSZ and UMDSZ, which refers to their cooperation in local elections.

Non-governmental organizations also note that in Ukraine the negative, biased, intolerant attitude towards the Russian and Russian-speaking minority has increased dramatically. This is especially striking in view of the ongoing political events in Ukraine during 2014-2015. - the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the Anti-Terrorist Operations (ATOs) in the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk region, etc.

In this connection, the demarche of the president of the country is interesting. In November 2015, in response to an electronic petition of Ukrainian citizens posted on the website of the head of state, Petro Poroshenko stated that it is necessary to duplicate information in the internal passport of Ukrainians in English, in the same way that they are currently issued with duplicated information in Russian: “I support people's indignation concerning the duplication in the citizen's passport of information in the language of the state, which is recognized by the Verkhovna Rada as carrying out aggression against Ukraine.” He added, “Taking into account the patriotic position of citizens, who signed this petition, as well as the desire of the Ukrainian community to integrate into the European Union, I consider it necessary to duplicate information in English as the language of international communication.”

In one of the Kiev schools (No. 261), the administration developed a memo with advice on the transition to the Ukrainian language of communication. The main emphasis was placed on forgetting the Russian language. The first point of the memo contained instructions on how to abandon the entire Russian-language; it advised to only watch news in Ukrainian, read books only in Ukrainian, listen only to Ukrainian music. It was also recommended that students write e-mails and communicate on the Internet only in Ukrainian; it is important to speak the Ukrainian language with Russian-speaking citizens. In addition, it recommended, literally, to destroy the Russian keyboard: “Destroying the Russian keyboard is a great way to get rid of the temptation to switch to Russian,” the document says. The memo also explains: “You were told that it is impolite to talk with a person in Ukrainian, if he speaks Russian with you? Forget about politeness. Ukrainian language would be dead if you are polite with everyone. Speak Ukrainian, so that they hear you speak beautifully. Most will be ashamed of the fact that they cannot talk back to you in Ukrainian. This is an excellent occasion for them to reflect on the issue of their national identity. “

In Lviv, on June 20, 2015 in the Centre for Russian Culture at the Russian Society of A.S. Pushkin, a congress of Russian and other public organizations of Lviv region was held. At this event, the leader of the Russian Movement of Ukraine, Alexander Svistunov, noted the “terrible situation of Russians and other national communities in Ukraine.” Pokrovsky A.S., chairman of the Union of Scientific Socialism of I.Franko and the Lviv regional organization “Intelligentsia for Socialism”, said that today the Russian intelligentsia has no opportunity to perform its function directly, namely: to carry its culture, language, works of art in its native Russian language to its people. The congress participants came to a common understanding of the need to amend the Law of Ukraine “On National Minorities of Ukraine”, among which - to grant to national minorities the right to create a national and cultural autonomy, to provide for the state status of the Russian language, which will remove the general tension in society and in general in Ukraine; convocation of the international forum of Western Ukraine, etc.

The lack of a statutory right of national minorities to national-cultural autonomy continued to be one of the most pressing issues of 2015. On May 22, 2015, representatives of the Rusinsky movement and human rights activists arrived in Kiev to the building of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine in order to obtain a response from the President of Ukraine to his appeal addressed back in March and signed by more than ten thousand residents of Transcarpathia on the recognition of the results of the 1991 referendum on special status of the self-governing territory for Transcarpathia, as well as the recognition of Rusyns as a national minority. Activists were met at the walls of the Presidential Administration by the police, special forces and SBU officers. No answer was received by the Rusyns.

The representative of the Rusinsky movement Andrei Yurik noted that the Minsk Agreements, supported by the leadership of Ukraine, provided for the granting of a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and Transcarpathian Rusyns believe that a similar approach should be applied not only to the Donbas region, but to Transcarpathia. He argued that there are all the necessary legitimate grounds connected with the results of the referendum held in the Transcarpathian region in 1991, in which 78% of the inhabitants voted for the special status of the region.

Earlier on April 5, 2015, deputies of the Transcarpathian Regional Council voted for an appeal to the government and the President on amending the Constitution of Ukraine with a view to granting broad administrative and financial powers to local self-government bodies. In the text of the appeal, the deputies in particular refer to the results of the referendum on December 1, 1991, at which 546,450 voters in the Transcarpathian region, or 78.6%, cast their votes “for the proclamation of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine” as a self-governing territory as an independent Ukraine “. In general, the reaction to this decision was ambiguous in society.

The question of granting autonomy was also raised by the Crimean-Tatar national minority, to which the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, actively reacted, in contrast to the issue of granting autonomy to Hungarians and Rusyns.

The importance of national-cultural autonomy was also emphasized by the Armenian national minority. In June 2015 in Lviv at a meeting of representatives of national minorities organizations the head of the Armenian National Community of Lviv Nikolai Kocharyan noted that the Ukrainian government should take into account the compact living of national minorities, and in the development of new amendments to the Basic Law of Ukraine - the rights of national minorities to national cultural autonomy , since these requirements are dictated by the multinationality of Ukraine and Galicia should practice European standards for its citizens. “This practice is applied in Italy, Belgium and in several other European countries,” he said.

On April 10, it became known about the spread of leaflets and billboards in Odessa and Kharkiv with calls for the search for “domestic separatists” - disloyal citizens - and reporting them to the SSU hotlines. This included all those who “defiled national symbols”, “sowed decadent moods”, etc. Such vagueness of formulations is a breeding ground for the growth of fear and mutual hatred.

The website “Peacemaker” (https://psb4ukr.org/) actively operated on the Internet, which was supported by the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs A. Avakov A. Gerashchenko. In an interview published April 27, with a popular Baltic news portal Delfi, A. Gerashchenko, referring to the portal “Peacemaker”, compared its authors with a Nazi hunter, S. Wiesenthal, who sent information about Nazi criminals to thousands of addresses. He also stated that the posting of O. Buzina's personal data on the website with the label “an accomplice of the enemy” was allegedly not an incitement to murder.

The Ministry of Education and Science published an additional paragraph to the history books and methodological materials on the events of 2014 and early 2015 contained a statement about Russia's desire to “deprive Ukrainians of the right to their own state, culture, history.” In addition, separatists from the east of Ukraine were carefully portrayed as “strangers” and demonized. Quite often, the term “Russian terrorists” was used.

Since the outbreak of hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine, incidents of discriminatory practices against various religious organizations have become massively recorded throughout the country. Thus, starting in May 2014, a number of incidents against prayer houses of Protestants were noted on the territories under the control of separatists-in all, at least 13 cases were noted. Pressure was also exerted on new religious movements - Jehovah's Witnesses (14 prayer houses were occupied ), Mormons (on June 26, their prayer house in Donetsk was seized ). In addition, on September 8, the “House of Prayer for All Peoples” operating in Antratsit was compulsorily converted into an Orthodox church. At the same time, in the territories under the control of the Kiev authorities, a number of cases of selection of churches from the ROC MP communities were supported by supporters of “competing churches” with the connivance of the authorities. In total for the year of 2014, 16 such cases were recorded, 4 more were under threat of seizure.

Particularly tense situation has developed in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, where a complex conglomerate of problematic ethnic groups of the population - Gypsies, Hungarians and Ruthenians, has developed. If the Roma of Transcarpathia are experiencing the whole complex of problems related to the issues of children's education and the availability of personal documents, and the Hungarians are trying to solve the problem of using their language at the regional level (which generally fits the jurisdiction of the law on regional languages of Ukraine), then Rusins, which in the region there are more than 450 thousand people, require recognition of themselves as a national minority in the territory of the whole Ukraine. The last demand is particularly irritating to the current Ukrainian authorities, who see it as a new danger of separatism. In addition, the recognition of Ruthenians by an individual will lead to an automatic “deterioration” of statistics for the title ethnos, which is also not to the liking of many government officials.

Meanwhile, if the authorities do not find solutions to Transcarpathia's problems in the near future, this region may become the next hot spot on the territory of the country. If today in the southeast there is no interethnic conflict in its pure form, then a possible complication of the situation in Transcarpathia has all chances to develop rather quickly into an interethnic clash.

In Ukraine, there is also the problem of discrimination against refugees and displaced persons. On July 28, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported on the large-scale practice of detaining refugees in Ukraine who do not have documents. They are put in prisons without the right to legal protection. In addition, the international legal norms on refugees and asylum seekers are not being observed. Immigration service takes at least a year to consider asylum applications, during which the subject does not have any rights. A person whose refugee status was denied, which happens often, could appeal the decision in court. This would extends the whole process for many years and the subject often lives in fear of being imprisoned for lack of identity documents.

When it comes to refugees from eastern Ukraine fleeing to other regions, Amnesty International reports that they received “limited support from the state, mostly relying on their own means and help of relatives and charities”. The situation did not change even after the IDP law was passed. Ukrainian refugees have complained about the reluctance of the government to work with them.

Roma migrants have also faced difficulties. On July 25, it was reported that Roma refugees who settled at a former resort in Kharkiv are periodically attacked by locals. It is worth mention the refusal to house Roma refugees in Nikolayev (see discrimination section).

In February 2015, public opinion was stirred up after a journalistic investigation by the German Spiegel magazine and the ARD television channel about inhumane methods of keeping people in migration centres established throughout Ukraine. Journalists came to the conclusion that the European Union, trying, apparently, to reduce the flow of refugees from Asian and African countries to Europe, allocates huge funds for the construction and maintenance of temporary detention centres for migrants in Ukraine, where inhuman conditions reign, and refugees are being tortured.

The inspection of the temporary accommodation of refugees in the Transcarpathian region conducted by the Ombudsman in 2015 showed that the existing norms for providing migrants with food do not take into account the peculiarities of the national cuisine of African and Arab countries, therefore some eat mostly rice (after the Commissioner's request, once every two weeks instead of once a month, the rooms were equipped with refrigerators). Social workers did not help the refugees in preparing the necessary documents. Asylum seekers do not have access to free emergency medical care and only rarely can afford to afford expensive, costly medical services.

As for refugees from Donbass who fled to other regions of Ukraine, according to human rights organizations, most of them “received limited support from the state and mainly relied on their own funds, assistance from relatives and charitable organizations.” The situation did not change after the adoption of the law on forced migrants. Refugees complain about the unwillingness of local authorities to organize work with them.

Meanwhile, events 2014-2015 caused the appearance of a significant number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Lugansk and Donetsk regions and Crimea. According to various estimates, it is about 1-1.7 million people. Leaders in the reception of displaced persons were Donetsk (655889), Luganskaya (247872), Kharkov (209160), Zaporizhzhya (115787), Dnepropetrovsk (76730), Kiev (47774) and Kiev (123 566). The smallest number of migrants moved to the western regions: Ternopil, Chernivtsi, Rivne, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk and Volyn region, where 2.5 to 4.5 thousand people were accommodated.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Recommendations on international protection related to events in Ukraine - updated version II of 15 January 2015 emphasized that many internally displaced persons are socially vulnerable, including older people or single women with children. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, 24% of IDPs are children, another 24% are elderly or disabled, 66% of women are women.

According to sociological polls, 52% of the resettled could not adapt to the new location, one third of the migrants do not have enough useful information, and 15% hide their status from those around them. Experts and volunteers note that state aid for IDPs is allocated inefficiently, without creation of new jobs, support for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Ministry of Social Policy officials does not know how to provide assistance to IDPs; it does not hold a special register for IDPs, does not conduct a special state program responsible for working with IDPs. The above-mentioned issues were repeatedly raised by the media and the public, but so far, to no avail.

There was an incorrect attitude towards IDPs and at the echelons of the regional authorities of Ukraine, which was often directly linked with corruption. It is worth paying attention to the conflict around the project to help internally displaced persons and transferring their business from conflict zone that flared up in the spring of 2015 in the Vinnitsa region. On March 26, 2015 with the participation of the Department of Regional Economic Development of Vinnytsia Regional State Administration, Vinnitsa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association “Private Investors of Ukraine” in Vinnitsa launched a project to create a “Centre for Adaptation of Entrepreneurs and Migrants from the ATU and Crimea area.”

As a result of the project, 720 new jobs were planned in the region, for which the European Union planned the allocation of 323 thousand euros. However, in reality, the project was never implemented, because in May 2015 the Department of Regional Economic Development of the Vinnytsia Regional State Administration received the first tranche of € 245.3 thousand from the European Union for the implementation of the project, but did not make any real payments to the migrants and other partners. Grant money was simply transferred to the regional budget of Vinnytsia region (according to the decision of the Vinnytsia Regional Council of April 30, 2015, No. 889 “On Amending the Decision of the 31st Session of the Regional Council of the 6th Convocation of January 16, 2015, No 805” On the Regional Budget for 2015 “). After not enumerating part of the grant funds for the implementation of the project by other partners, the Department on September 14, 2015 unilaterally severed the grant contract with Vinnitsa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association of Private Investors of Ukraine. On this fact, an investigation was launched by the EU Delegation to Ukraine in late November 2015.

The report on “Ensuring the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine” of the Open Dialog Foundation for 2015 states that many IDPs remain dissatisfied with the level of state support. According to a study conducted in January-February 2015, 44% of IDPs believe that they receive insufficient support from the state. Every third settler faced discrimination in employment, renting or other household situations. 58% of the respondents reported that they had difficulty finding work in their new place of residence. 26% of the respondents did not yet seek employment after the move and are hoping for state assistance. Among the typical reasons for the refusal of employment from entrepreneurs, who were facing forced migrants: lack of free jobs, reluctance to take a person from the occupied territory, inadequate job criteria, lack of work experience. 38% of interviewed entrepreneurs from Lugansk and Donetsk regions reported that they employed IDPs.

Special attention in the context of law enforcement practice in 2015 on the national minorities of Ukraine is required by the issue of the level of hate crime based on ethnicity, its proper qualification and investigation. The state actually withdrew from the problem of protecting the rights of national minorities - law enforcement agencies do not use the provisions of Art. 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (inciting racial, religious or national hatred or enmity), trying to re-qualify the relevant cases for other more “standard” and soft articles.

Ukrainian human rights activists say that cases of ethnically and racially motivated violence in Ukraine are not being investigated effectively, and almost half of the victims do not apply to law enforcement agencies. Speaking at a press conference on the topic “Is there a problem of racism and anti-Semitism in Ukraine?”, timed to coincide with the International Day of Struggle Against Fascism, Racism and Anti-Semitism, which is celebrated on November 9, lawyer Julia Naumenko , who represents victims of hate crimes, noted that almost half of them do not report to law enforcers, believing this to be a senseless waste of time: they do not believe that the investigation will be carried out objectively, that the perpetrators will be punished.

In addition to the problem of qualification of crimes, there is also the problem of poor quality of the investigation and the inability of the police to work on such cases. The motive, as a rule, is ignored. As an example, the lawyer cited the following cases: beating a minor guy in the Pozniaky metro station and beating African Americans in the Olimpiysky sports complex. So, an attack on a black teenager at the metro station “Poznyaki” in Kiev occurred on August 19, 2015. As the victim's mother reported, before the beating, the attackers shouted Nazi slogans. If in the first case after the intervention of the ombudsman it was possible to achieve the appropriate qualification of the crime, in the beating of the fans the law enforcers did not see any racism and investigated the case of hooliganism.

Indicative in this situation were the events in Kharkov, when on June 12, 2015, foreign students near the hostel in which they lived were beaten up by a group of people armed with bats and knives. As a result of the investigation, five people suspected of a crime were detained. In the end, the investigation was carried out on the article of “hooliganism”. The detainees were released because the police do not consider the conflict to be interethnic. Police also released people who attacked an LGBT gathering at the “Cleopatra” cafe in Krivoy Rog (Dnepropetrovsk region.

The activity of the nationalist deputies on supporting nationalists detained for hate crime was reported. At the initiative of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of the Radical Party, nationalist I.Mosiychuka was released from custody after being arrested for the destruction of the memorial plaque Marshala Zhukova on May 16, as well as the four who attacked LGBT people during the “Equality March” in Kiev on June 6.

Monitoring noted the only verdict in the case of a hate crime case. On March 24, the Kyiv District Court of Odessa sentenced a 19-year-old coordinator of the local group of the nationalist movement “Fashionable sentence” to seven years in prison for organizing a beating to death in 2012 of a LGBT representative. The murderer received 7 years of imprisonment.

The issue of creating video surveillance and proper security in the territory of the Babi Yar Historical and Memorial Complex, despite repeated acts of xenophobic vandalism, remains without attention.

In Ukraine, the year 2016 was marked by the extrusion of minority languages from the media, education, and culture (for details, see section 1.2.) This policy has not changed fundamentally since 2015. According to the Constitution, Ukrainian is the official language in Ukraine. Russian, like other languages of the peoples inhabiting the country, is considered as a mean of communication of the national minority. At the same time, according to a survey conducted in 2004 by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), up to 45% of the population of Ukraine communicate at home in Russian, while 42% in Ukrainian, and 13% equally easy communicate in both languages.

The Russian language is actively being ousted from secondary schools, including in regions with a predominantly Russian-speaking population. So, according to the head of the military-civil administration of the Donetsk region Pavel Zhebrivsky, 60% of schools in the area teach in the Ukrainian language and the task of the authorities is "to promote their growth." At the same time, Russian is a mother tongue for 93% of the population there. Guided by this directive, the authorities of the town Bakhmut (former Artemovsk) transferred teaching language of the first grade of three schools into the Ukrainian two weeks prior to the beginning of the academic year, and parents were not consulted. 59 parents of future schoolchildren signed the requirement to leave the Russian language of instruction at school, but the local authorities refused them without explaining the reasons.

Also, in Ukraine, minority languages are being ousted from public life. On April 20, 2016, at the plenary session of the Kyiv City Council, the deputies supported in the first reading the draft decision "On overcoming the consequences of the Soviet occupation in the language sphere.” The relevant document proposes to establish in Kiev the language of work, record keeping and documentation of local government bodies, enterprises, institutions, and organizations of communal ownership is to be the state language, namely, Ukrainian. The document also states that all advertisements, signs, posters, and other forms of audio and visual advertising products must be written in Ukrainian or another language with a mandatory indication of their translation or transliteration into Ukrainian. By order of the Minister of Infrastructure V. Omelyan, by the end of 2016 all tickets, station names, announcements, and information on the board of Kiev will be conducted exclusively in Ukrainian and English.

In Ukraine, with the total connivance of the authorities, the illegal confiscation of the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) took place and its transfer to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) starting from 2014 till now. The struggle for temples occurs, first of all, in Western Ukraine, mainly in the Transcarpathian and Ternopil regions.

There is a problem of the institutional racism in Ukraine. In this country, commonly an attack to a black man with racist cries or to a gay with homophobic cries is investigated by the police as hooliganism, and not a hate crime. Characteristically, according to official data of the Prosecutor General's Office, in Ukraine in 2016, 58 crimes were committed based on racial, national or religious intolerance. But only according to the data of the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, 303 notifications of incidents of discrimination and violation of equality were submitted to her office in 2016.

A separate trend is also a tolerant attitude towards activists of radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations. In general, this is typical for Ukraine, where tolerance for radicals is combined with official glorification of collaborators of the Second World War. Almost all right-wing radical organizations in this country have their own paramilitary units, which, after the change of power in March 2014, were officially incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine or the Armed Forces. Members of these formations are often involved in anti-Semitic and anti-Hungarian demonstrations, interfaith and interreligious conflicts (most of the right-wing radicals are neo-pagans), but in almost all cases they manage to escape punishment. Their symbolism ("wolf hook", stylized swastikas) is not forbidden in Ukraine.

Part of the ideology of Ukrainian right-wing radicals is the heroization of collaborators of the Second World War and the figures of the Directory of Ukraine during the Civil War, who are guilty of Jewish pogroms. However, this ideology is completely shared by the current leadership of the country. As early as May 15, 2015, President Poroshenko signed the law "On the legal status and commemoration of the fighters for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century" among the so-called laws on de-communization. The law criminalized criticism against the fighters. For example, OUN-UPA, which operated during the first years of the Nazi occupation in alliance with the Nazis and was "famous" for the Lviv Jewish pogrom and the Volyn massacre of the Poles, as well as one of the leaders of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1918 -1919) S. Petlyura, whose soldiers "became famous" for the most severe Jewish pogroms during the Civil War.

Thus, the executioners are heroic, but not persecuted by authorities. Streets in Ukrainian cities are named after the “heroes”, monuments are put up, etc. This policy logically fuels hate crimes, primarily on the basis of anti-Semitism.

Law enforcement practices towards minorities in Ukraine in 2018-2020 continued the trend that began in 2014: representatives of all categories of minorities (ethnic, religious, linguistic, etc.) are under pressure from both the state and radicals, whose actions are not condemned by the state apparatus, and are virtually unchecked by law enforcement agencies. The victory of Vladimir Zelensky and his party "Servant of the People" in the presidential and parliamentary elections, respectively, has not affected the course of the state towards minorities in general. The continuity of the policy can be explained both by the inertia of the state machine, and by the new team's fear of right-wing radicals, who might undermine the situation in the country if they adopted unpopular laws aimed at respecting minority rights. As a consequence, there has not been the change in the country's law enforcement practices that many had expected.

Law Enforcement Practice Regarding National Minority Languages.

During the reporting period, the so-called language law was adopted, translating virtually all spheres of public life into the Ukrainian language. This law directly affects the interests of millions of Ukrainian citizens representing national minorities. By 2020, i.e., by the time the language law went into effect, there were over 4 million pupils in Ukraine, studying in almost 15 thousand schools. Among them 3 million 753 thousand of pupils study in Ukrainian language (92% of total number of pupils), 281 thousand of pupils study in Russian (6,9%). - Of these, 3 million 753 thousand students study in the Ukrainian language (92% of the total number of students), 281 thousand people study in Russian (6.9%), 17.1 thousand - in Hungarian (0.42%), 16 thousand - in Romanian (0.4%), 2.5 thousand - in Moldovan and 1.7 thousand - in Polish. The number of schools with these languages of instruction is almost identical: In Ukraine in 2020 there were almost 15 thousand schools, of which 13584 schools with instruction in Ukrainian (92% of the total number of schools), 125 schools with instruction in Russian (0.85% - less than 1% of schools have 6.9% of students studying in Russian), 72 schools in Hungarian (0.49%), 68 schools in Romanian (0.46%), 4 schools in Polish and 2 schools in Moldovan.

That is, with almost a thousand more students in the Moldovan language of instruction there are only 2 institutions, and with Polish twice as many - 4.

The disproportion of the number of students studying in the Russian language and Russian schools is more than eight times. After the language law came into force, that is, as of the 2020/2021 school year, there were 14.4 thousand schools in Ukraine, of which 13.6 thousand were in Ukrainian (95% of the total number of schools), 73 in Hungarian (0.51%), 69 in Romanian (0.48%), 55 in Russian (0.38%), 4 in Polish (0.03%), 1 each in Moldovan and German (0.01%).,/p>

There were 4.1 million students in these schools as of the 2020/2021 school year. Of these, 3.7 million students were taught in the Ukrainian language (90% of the total number of students), 17.9 thousand - in Russian (0.44%), 13.9 thousand - Hungarian (0.34%), 13.5 thousand - Romanian (0.33%), 929 - Polish (0.02%), 176 - Moldovan (0.01%), 160 - German (0.01%). Separately, it should be noted that another 672 schools (9.1%) provided instruction in two or more languages for 373,000 students. Particularly, 603 schools teach in Ukrainian and Russian languages (total number of students 351 thousand, 112 thousand of them study in Russian), in 27 schools - in Ukrainian and Hungarian (8,3 and 3,6 thousand students respectively), in 19 schools - in Ukrainian and Romanian (5, 6 and 2.7 thousand), 16 schools - Ukrainian and Moldovan (4.6 and 2.2 thousand), two schools - Ukrainian and Polish (709 and 157), and one school combining Ukrainian and English (307 and 165), Bulgarian (332 and 46), Crimean Tatar (626 and 64) and Slovak (354 and 138).

Thus, the number of students studying in Ukrainian gradually decreased in proportion to the decrease in population and reached its minimum in 2014-2015, when Ukraine lost part of its territories. Starting from this period, the number of students studying in Ukrainian began to grow and reached its maximum in 2020. Overall, since 2014, the number of students studying in Ukrainian has increased from 3.28 million to 3.72 million, an increase of 13.4%. Given the negative demographic dynamics, this was made possible by the transfer of national minority schools to Ukrainian-language instruction.

At the same time, despite the increase in the number of children studying in the Ukrainian language, the number of schools is systematically decreasing, which is explained by the educational reform and is apparently compensated by the increase in the number of students in classes, which may have a negative impact on the quality of education. Between 1990 and 1991, there were 4,633 Russian-speaking schools in Ukraine (21% of the total number of schools in Ukraine - 21,900). As a result, from 2014 to 2020, the number of Russian-language schools decreased fivefold. Taking into account the provisions of the language law, only 55 Russian-language schools remained in Ukraine for the 2020/2021 school year, which can rather be seen as an exception, since according to the law there should have been no schools at all.

This led to a significant increase in the average number of Russian language students per school: while in 2010 there were on average 561 students per Russian language school, in 2020 there will be 2,250 (one thousand more than in Moldovan schools). Such a high indicator can also be explained by the presence of schools with teaching in several languages.

The number of students taught in Hungarian has been declining since 2004 and began to increase in 2014, after the Euromaidan, and this growth was not affected by the adoption of the language and education law. The reason for this may be the increase in the number of children of Hungarian origin and the growth of national patriotism in the Hungarian community, which thus consolidated itself against laws that discriminate against national minorities. In 2020, the increase in the number of students, compared to the minimum in 2013-2014, was 14.6%. In parallel, after a decline since 2006, the number of schools with Hungarian language of instruction began to grow from 66 to 73 in 2020-2021 from 2013.

The number of children studying in Romanian has been decreasing throughout the period of independence: from 26,400 in 2004 to 13,500 in 2020. The minimum number of students in this language was in 2017-2018, after which it began to grow slightly. The number of schools with instruction in Romanian decreased in proportion to the reduction in the number of students.

The situation with teaching in the Crimean Tatar language in Ukraine deserves special attention, because after the annexation of Crimea to Russia the issue of protecting the rights of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula became very acute. During the period when Crimea was under Ukrainian control, 5.7-5.5 thousand people were taught in the Crimean Tatar language, and after the annexation of Crimea - none, probably due to the absence of such a request for education. Children studying in the Crimean Tatar language in the controlled territory of Ukraine appeared as early as 2017 - 11 people, and in three years their number increased to 64.

At the same time, after the annexation of Crimea, there was not a single school in Ukraine that taught exclusively in the Crimean Tatar language. At present, no such schools have been established in the controlled part of Ukraine, apparently due to the small number of those wishing to study in Crimean Tatar - it was easier to create separate classes. As of the 2020/2021 school year in Ukraine there were 672 schools with Russian as the language of instruction (up to 5th grade), 100 with Hungarian, 88 with Polish, 17 with Moldovan, 6 with Polish, 2 with Crimean Tatar, and 1 each with English, Bulgarian, German, and Slovak. Thus education in the languages of national minorities is being steadily supplanted in the country. It is assumed that schools with Russian language education will be closed on the territory of Ukraine starting from 2022.

According to data of sociological research of Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), in 2021, i.e. before the beginning of war with Russia, 33% of respondents consider that the state must provide Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine with the right to get school education in Russian on the whole territory of the country. Another 40% - that in those regions where the majority of the population wants it, but not in the whole territory. In other words, 73% of citizens of Ukraine stand for the right of children to be educated in Russian either in the whole country or in Russian-speaking regions. And only 24% of respondents chose the answer option "the state should not provide such a right".

Media law enforcement practices

According to the Institute of Mass Information, in 2018 there were 235 cases of violations of freedom of speech, and in 2019 there were already 243 such cases. At the same time, according to official data, the trend will remain negative in 2020.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, in January-October 2020 154 cases were opened under Article 171 "Obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists," 47 under Art. 345-1 "Threats or Violence against Journalists", 2 - art. 347-1 "Intentional destruction or damage to journalists' property".

It is noteworthy that only 16 out of 203 instances of initiated criminal proceedings were suspected and in 10 cases the cases were sent to court. None of the suspected perpetrators of attacks on journalists was ever taken into custody, which can often be explained by the practice of members of ultra-right groups exerting pressure on judges.

Discrimination of religious organizations

In fact, we can state that often the local authorities acted in active association with representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine of the Kyiv Patriarchate (PCU) and exerted direct pressure and discrimination against parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC). The main reason for this appears to have been President Petro Poroshenko's policy of forming a de facto state church loyal to him. It can be assumed that under the influence of a number of high-profile scandals, as well as after the change of power in the country, the state moved away from the practice of church raiding. Thus, unlike the first edition of bill No. 4128, law No. 2673-VIII does not provide for the so-called "right of self-identification," when any person could vote on changing the subordination of the community (on the question of "transition"). Earlier, the Institute for Religious Freedom recommended that the president of the Verkhovna Rada, the leadership of the relevant committee, and parliamentary factions and groups thoroughly revise the draft law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" regarding changes in the subordination of religious communities.

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