Discrimination and racist violence, including at the hands of the police, is an ongoing problem in Ukraine. The latest victim was Steven Okurut, a legal resident of Ukraine from Uganda, has allegedly suffered multiple bruises and head injuries. The police officers who detained Steven also took his money and verbally abused him. Read more about the case.
Charles Asante-Yeboa—Human Rights First’s colleague and good friend from the African Center in Kyiv, Ukraine—offered his comments to the Kyiv Post, “This is an age-old method [by the police] of extorting money from Africans and Asians. They first accuse you of drug dealing, of possession, and then they search you and take whatever they like.”
The situation in the country has improved since Human Rights First released its report on Hate Crimes in Ukraine in 2008. We were fortunate not to report on any bias-motivated murders in 2009 or 2010. However, the recent incident with Steven Okurut is not a stand-alone case, but another indication that minorities are still vulnerable to discrimination and violence. The sad reality is just as Charles describes it: “People are moving around less, they avoid all modes of public transport for fear of being attacked, they travel in groups but we still see pockets of incidents in Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Kharkiv.”
Thus, vulnerable minorities are adjusting their lives, limiting their movements, and still living in fear.