Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Information point at each other in case of Roma discrimination
Members of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Maryia
Bahdanovich and Ales Yauseyenka have received an answer from the Ministry of
Internal Affairs towards their application concerning discriminative statements
in the press about Roma nationals.
The human rights defenders called on all police officers not to indicate the national identity of criminals in their public speeches. “Pointing at the nationality of an offender foments xenophobia, and if it ignites, the police will have to spend considerable efforts in order to tame hooligan chauvinist groups,” stated the activists in their address.
Mayia Bahdanovich and Ales Yauseyenka applied to the police after receiving an answer from the Ministry of Information concerning the publications insulting the dignity of the Roma Diaspora. In his answer the deputy minister of information Uladzimir Matusevich stated that “the publications were prepared on the basis of the data provided by the internal affairs bodies concerning the criminal schemes of swindlers with the aim to prevent analogical actions.”
When the human rights defenders applied to the MIA, it answered that “the final literary processing of the materials and the factual data which are issued for the public discussion are conducted by the editorial office of the media”.
What concerns the call not to indicate the nationality of offenders in public materials, the head of the MIA information and public relations department Kanstantsin Shalkevich stated that “explanatory work is held among officers of internal affairs bodies concerning the inadmissibility of concretization of the racial, ethnical and religious traits of offenders in public speeches”.
However, Maryia Bahdanovich considers this work to be insufficient. “Otherwise such materials would not have appeared in the press, moreover – in the MIA newspaper. I will continue watching the situation and register discriminative materials against Roma nationals in the press,” stated the human rights defender.