Report “Two years of war: xenophobia in Ukraine in 2015”: decrease of hate violence, cooperation with authorities and difficulties in monitoring occupied territories


Kyiv, January 20, 2016. The number of cases of hate violence in Ukraine decreased. NGOs and law enforcement authorities have finally established information of data coordination mechanism in 2015. Nevertheless, due to temporary annexation of Crimea and occupation of part of Donbas, monitoring and verification of violence on these territories became more difficult, said Josef Zisels, chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine, at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center, where he presented a report “Two years of war: xenophobia in Ukraine in 2015”. According to Zisels, a decrease in the number of such cases is partially caused by a decrease in provocations instigated by Russian special services in this sphere.

Anti-Semitic and homophobic sentiments prevail on the temporarily occupied territories. No church except for Orthodox [Moscow Patriarchate] church is recognized. “At the same time, people who disagree with a statement on multiculturalism [on these territories] are punished with penalties beyond the limits of any criminal of administrative code,” said Tetyana Bezruk, coordinator of Minority Rights Monitoring Group.

According to Viacheslav Lykhachov, director of Minority Rights Monitoring Group, the number of racial crimes decreased in comparison with the 2014 rate. Nevertheless, one lethal case was recorded in 2015. “We can see that warfare and acuteness of national feelings did not result in the situation becoming more strenuous,” emphasized Lykhachov. He added there still was a serious problem with homophobia, as well as high level of anti-Semitic vandalism.

While dozens of xenophobia-related crimes are recorded in Ukraine, the corresponding rate in Western Europe is hundreds and even thousands of such crimes. Lykhachov explained that the European countries take into account any manifestation of that type, including from threats over the telephone and insults in the streets. “It is impossible for us to record such incidents,” he said.

According to the head of the Minority Rights Monitoring Group, visible minorities (those who are easily distinguishable in the street: men of African and Asian descent, Roma, people wearing traditional clothes of religious minorities as well as LGBT community representatives, when openly demonstrating their membership) are the most vulnerable.