UN Human Rights Body Urges Probe Into Racist Attacks In Ukraine

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The UN refugee agency said yesterday that it was extremely concerned about a growing pattern of racist attacks against refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine.


Some of the violence has involved police, William Spindler, a spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said.

The agency urged authorities to ensure an investigation into the killing of an Iraqi asylum seeker in Kiev on June 3 is carried out fully.

"We are extremely concerned at what seems to be an increasing trend in the number and seriousness of racist attacks against asylum seekers, refugees and other foreigners in Ukraine," Spindler told journalists.

"The number of attacks and harassment against foreigners in Ukraine in the last few months make it necessary to investigate the motives of this murder carefully, including racist motivations," he added.

The agency has raised its concerns about several incidents since 2001, but more recently the UNHCR's office in Kiev has been receiving regular accounts of unprovoked racist attacks, beatings, verbal insults and other acts of xenophobia in different regions.

The problem also appeared to be affecting other foreigners in the country, the UNHCR said, despite efforts by Ukrainian authorities to deal with it.

Ukraine shares its western border with EU nations. The European Union and Kiev struck a deal in October aimed at clamping down on the movement of illegal immigrants using the country as a staging post on their way to the EU.

Source: AFP