Police in Aktsiabrski ask people to be alert to Roma
The newspaper “Chyrvony Kastrychnik” in Aktsiabrski district, Homel region, has published an article where local police urge citizens to be vigilant against the Romani people, warning them that they often target elderly people as victims of their crimes.
Police gives advice how to avoid crimes, the first of which reads: “Beware of the Romani people, who, under any pretext (divination, selling goods, buying pets, etc.), are trying to enter your home and commit theft of money and valuables”.
The elderly persons are also recommended not to leave their houses unlocked and not to trust strangers. The list of required security measures is then interrupted by another reminder: “Of particular concern are offenses against this category of persons committed by Roma citizens”.
The publication then sums up: “In case Roma people appear in the settlements of the district, as well as suspicious social workers, employees of housing and communal services, please immediately notify the Department of the Interior.”
Homel human rights defenders Maryia Klimovich and Ales Yauseyenka have repeatedly raised the problem of discrimination against the Roma people. Several years ago, the chief ideology official of the Homel region promised that editors of local state-owned newspapers would ensure that publications did not specify the nationality of offenders or suspects. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that “police officers are constantly instructed of the inadmissibility of mentioning in public statements racial, ethnic and religious peculiarities of criminals”.
Belarusian law prohibits discrimination on any grounds, including race, nationality, etc. However, local authorities keep publishing articles on the topic “Beware of Roma”.