UN CERD addressed a request to Russia concerning discrimination of Roma in Chemodanovka and Ust-Abakan

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) addressed a request to the Russian government for clarification concerning violations of the rights of Roma in the villages of Chemodanovka (Penza Region) and Ust-Abakan (Republic of Khakassia). UN human rights bodies have expressed concern about cases of interethnic violence, intimidation and abuse of power by law enforcement authorities against Roma population. Special rapporteurs noted that domestic conflicts had escalated into violent acts with human victims because of discrimination and prejudice against the local Roma minorities. Special attention was paid to the facts of police inaction during the pogroms of Roma settlements.

UN experts requested the Russian government to provide detailed information about what had happened in Chemodanovka and Ust-Abakan, as well as about investigations into violations of Roma rights, protection of victims from further persecution and compensations for victims.

Earlier, in June 2019, a mass brawl in Chemodanovka led to forced flight of more than 900 Roma people from there. Hundreds of them were detained by law enforcement agencies and were subjected to inhuman treatment. Currently, 28 Roma persons face charges of rioting and are still being held in custody. 

A similar incident had taken place in May 2018 in the village of Ust-Abakan (Khakassia). There, after the fight that had occurred, some 500 Roma were forced to leave the village because of threats against them. Some of them returned to the village later, but the local administration threatened them with eviction due to the lack of documents on the right of ownership of residential buildings. After that the local administration filed a lawsuit demanding the demolition of houses, which belonged to Roma people, and the court granted such a permission.

Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” made an urgent communication to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as part of the early warning and urgent procedures.