Polis Paper n° 16
Refugees of Second Class: Ukrainian Roma in Hungary and Moldova
by Anna Lelkes and Celine Cojocar
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European leaders and civil society have shown an immense solidarity towards the people of Ukraine and in particular the refugees that were forced to flee to the neighbouring countries and the EU. However, this solidarity does not extend to Ukrainian Roma refugees, who face severe discrimination, segregation, and rejection. Moldova and Hungary are two of the most important transit countries for refugees on the way to Western Europe. As their authorities, government officials and civil society are publicly reinforcing harmful stereotypes about Roma, crossing the borders, asking for asylum, or accessing decent living conditions in refugee centres has become harder than ever. This unsanctioned behaviour is a flagrant violation of human rights on European ground and needs to be addressed, if the EU and those who want to become part of it, want to preserve their credibility.