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String of attacks hit Roma settlements in Ukraine

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String of attacks hit Roma settlements in Ukraine

String of attacks hit Roma settlements in Ukraine
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A fatal attack on a Roma settlement near Lviv, Ukraine, has left one dead and four injured.

Saturday's attack was the fifth high-profile attack on a Roma settlement in the past few months.

The attackers wore masks and bore knives and hammers. Several adolescents have been arrested on suspicion of the “deliberate murder" and a criminal investigation is underway.

“The attackers were screaming to 'get out of here’,” 19-year-old David Pop told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

According to the head of the National Police of Ukraine, these attacks on Roma settlements in Ukraine have become increasingly frequent.

Past attacks have been carried out by radical far-right youth, including groups C14 and Traditsii i Poryadok (Traditions and Order).

In a letter to Ukraine’s Minister of Interior Affairs, co-authors Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House called on Ukrainian authorities to properly perform their duty of protecting the freedoms of their people. The four organisations claimed Ukrainian authorities’ response to previous incidents has been inadequate, which “created an atmosphere of near total impunity that cannot but embolden these groups to commit more attacks.”

According to the letter, members of the attacking groups have vocally expressed their contempt for the rights of women, the LGBTI community, and other minorities, as well as human rights defenders and journalists.

Since 2018, there have been dozens of hatred-driven attacks on settlements, rallies, and other public gatherings. None of the attackers has been successfully identified or prosecuted.

According to several civic peace initiatives, authorities observed but did nothing to stop these incidents, until last week.

Hromadske Radio reported earlier this month that Mykola Danevych, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, "with the allocation of (state) budget funds" to NGO Educational Assembly, the co-founder of which is Evgeny Karas, the leader of radical group C14.