'Disappointing' | 

Pavee Point says Ukrainian Roma refugees ‘face racism’ and need ‘equal treatment’ in Ireland

Pavee Point was responding after a Ukrainian Roma man was refused Temporary Protection status on arrival at Citywest Convention Centre last month.

A bus leaving the City West hotel and conference centre which is being used to house Ukrainian Refugees. Picture date: Monday October 24, 2022.© PA

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A Traveller support organisation has said that Ukrainian Roma refugees are “facing racism” and need “equal treatment” in Ireland.

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre was responding after a Ukrainian national and member of the Roma community was refused Temporary Protection status on arrival at Citywest Convention Centre last month.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) recently gave legal support to the man, who had provided all necessary documentation and whose wife and children had already been granted Temporary Protection in Ireland.

Following the IHREC’s intervention, the Department of Justice granted the man Temporary Protection, a decision that was welcomed by Pavee Point.

Jenny Liston, Coordinator of Pavee Point’s Roma Programme, today said that it was “important” that the IHREC’s appeal was successful.

“This is a very challenging time for the Irish Government, responding to an unprecedented crisis,” Ms Liston said.

“During this time, the State has shown a welcome commitment to ensuring the rights and safety of those fleeing conflict in Ukraine. However, it is up to the Department of Justice to ensure that Ukrainian Roma refugees receive equal and fair treatment under the Temporary Protection Directive.”

Rudolf Simonic, Roma community worker with Pavee Point added: “Roma families, with their children, have had difficult journeys from Ukraine to Ireland, facing racism and poor treatment along the way.

“It is very disappointing on reaching Ireland when they do not get the safety and protection they are entitled to.”

Ms Liston explained that Pavee Point has assisted a number of Ukrainian Roma families fleeing to Ireland since the Russian invasion earlier this year.

“We recorded 11 cases where Ukrainian Roma families were initially refused Temporary Protection.

“A common thread throughout these cases was the concern expressed by Roma refugees at discriminatory attitudes or differential treatment.”

The organisation now operates a phoneline to directly support Ukrainian Roma refugees entering Ireland and is working closely with State agencies and other relevant NGOs in the National Ukraine Response.

“Given the discriminatory treatment of Ukrainian Roma fleeing Ukraine that has been documented by a number of international NGOs in a variety of European countries, we recommend that all staff, officials and interpreters understand the impacts of discrimination and racism on Roma in Ukraine,” Ms Liston continued.

“There also needs to be clear criteria on the evidence required for Temporary Protection and clear reasons for refusal should be given in writing. We would also welcome a mechanism for raising concerns about decisions.”

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