Empowerment of Roma communities


Empowerment of  Roma communities is provision of free legal aid to Roma population in the Roma settlements as well as inpatient at the Community Law Centers.

In the Centers that are supported by International Renaissance Foundation any member of the community, irrespective of ethnic origin can get free legal aid. However, there are organizations in Cherkasy and Transcarpathian regions that work with Roma population specifically and give them a number of social and legal services both inpatiently and places of their compact settlement.
Roma is one of the largest ethnic groups in Ukraine, most of which resides in the Transcarpathian region and live by customary law. For example, in Transcarpathia, where the most numerous Roma community in Ukraine live, Roma, when face legal problems, address not a lawyer or public bodies first, but reputable member of the community (village head of the Roma settlement, ). Given the low level of education and social secrecy, the Roma tend not to distinguish between legal, social and financial problems.
Legal problems of the Roma population. Roma population legal needs research conducted by Kharkiv Institute for Social Research supported by the International Renaissance Foundation in 2012 showed that mostly Roma define their problem as lack of money, among others is absence of passport (although it mostly seems to be a problem of the State, because lack a passport means absence of any obligations to the State), employment, because more than 60% of respondents were not working at the time of the survey conduct, education (only 50% of respondents with school age children sent them to school), protection of property rights (camping Roma live in illegally built constructions) and accommodation, around 10 - 15 people live in small buildings in Transcarpathian compact settlements.
Among the ways to overcome the legal problems of most Roma are: family advice, friends (63%), appeal to a head of Roma community (41%), attempts to negotiate with the other party (37%) and an appeal to the NGO (33%). Most Roma noted in need a lawyer or attorney to solve their problems (21% - often, 46% - sometimes). However, many of them believe such assistance is not  available for them(79%). The main obstacle to obtain qualified legal assistance is financial insecurity of Roma (the answer: It is very expensive - 51%).

Roma also stress that they are constantly discriminated against, both  the government and society in general. It generates a total distrust of Roma to public bodies (almost 74% fully or partially do not trust government agencies).
Full text of the research "Study of Legal Needs of Roma in Transcarpathia and Cherkasy regions" is available at:

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