Racism and Human Rights

Europe and Central Asia

Human Rights Watch publications that address issues of discrimination based on race, caste, ethnicity, and other forms of descent.


The Greek Minority February 1995
There has been a marked deterioration in relations between Albania and Greece since 1993. At the center of the dispute is the treatment of the Greek minority living in Albania and this report documents their situation. (D704) 20 pp., $3.00/1.95

Bosnia and Hercegovina

Unfinished Business: Return of Displaced Persons and Other Human Rights Issues in Bijeljina May 2000.
In this report, Human Rights Watch documents how the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina, has not succeeded in restoring a multi-ethnic society. Instead, the authorities in Bijeljina continue to obstruct the implementation of the Dayton agreement, providing neither protection nor equal rights to the Bosniak community of Bijeljina, while actively deterring the return of Bosniaks who were driven from the city during the war. (D1207) 77pp, $7.00

"A Dark and Closed Place": Past & Present Human Rights Abuses in Foca July 1998
The Foca municipality was the site of some of the most brutal crimes committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Bosnian Serb civilian, police, and military officials established a wartime government that established a network of detention centers, where non-Serb civilians were detained, tortured, raped, and either expelled, killed, or "disappeared," leaving the town as it is today, almost completely ethnically Serb. (D1006) 69pp., $7.00

The Unindicted: Reaping the Rewards of "Ethnic Cleansing" in Prijedor January 1997
The warlords who took control of the town of Prijedor through systematic policies of ethnic cleansing--including pre-meditated slaughter, concentration camps, mass rape, and the takeover of businesses, government offices, and all communal property--have retained total control over key economic, infrastructure, and humanitarian sectors of the community in the post-war period. (D901) 76 pp., $7.00/5.95

The Continuing Influence of Bosnia's Warlords December 1996
At the time of this report, the human rights abuses that constitute "ethnic cleansing" were still being used to intimidate and harass ethnic minorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina in the post-Dayton period. Many of those who incited ethnic and nationalist hatred and were responsible for the massive atrocities committed during the war remained in power. (D817) 47 pp., $5.00/2.95

"Ethnic Cleansing" Continues in Northern Bosnia November 1994
In July 1994, the campaign to expel non-Serbs from Bosnian Serb-held areas of northern Bosnia accelerated. The systematic persecution of Muslims, Croats, Romas (Gypsies) and others took place in areas that had long been under absolute Bosnian Serb control; indeed, the sweeping institutional nature of the "cleansing" would not be possible without such control. (D616) 36 pp., $5.00/2.95

War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina (Volume II) April 1993
At the time of this report, international efforts focussed mainly on the need to deliver humanitarian aid to those besieged, while little or nothing had been done to end the intense bombardment of the areas under siege or to stop the systematic process of "ethnic cleansing." No effective actions had been taken to end the suffering and the world's nations as parties to the Genocide Convention and the U.N. as its sponsor had utterly failed in meeting their treaty obligations to take appropriate measures to stop genocide. (0979) 460 pp., $20.00/14.95

War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina (Volume I) August 1992
Full-scale war, marked by appalling brutality inflicted on the civilian population and extreme violations of international humanitarian law, raged in Bosnia-Hercegovina from early April 1992 and continued during the writing of this report. A policy of "ethnic cleansing" had resulted in the summary execution, disappearance, arbitrary detention, deportation and forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of people on the basis of their religion or nationality. (0839) 368 pp., $20.00/14.95


Increasing Violence Against Roma in Bulgaria November 1994
Racism and racially motivated violence against the Roma (Gypsy) minority in Bulgaria escalated dramatically in 1994. The violence ranged from police torture to mob attacks -- including violent attacks by guards employed by private security firms. Local officials were often implicated and it was very rare that those who perpetrate acts of mob violence against Roma, or the police and local officials who tolerate or acquiesce in such violence, were subject to criminal prosecution. (Do) 32 pp., $5.00/2.95

Police Violence Against Gypsies April 1993
On June 29, 1992, police surrounded a Gypsy neighborhood in Pazarszhik, a town 120 km. east of Sofia, and attacked its inhabitants, conducted abusive house searches, damaged property and confiscated possessions. Many Gypsies suffered serious injuries as well as significant property damage as a result of the police conduct. (D505) 14 pp., $3.00/1.95

Children of Bulgaria: Police Violence and Arbitrary Confinement September 1996
Children in Bulgaria are often deprived of their basic rights by police, the very people who are supposed to protect them. After conducting a fact-finding mission to Bulgaria in the spring of 1996, Human Rights Watch concluded that street children were often subjected to physical abuse and other mistreatment by police, both on the street and in police lockups, and by skinhead gangs, who brutally attacked the children because of their Roma (Gypsy) ethnic identity. (2009) 160 pp., $15.00/12.95

The Gypsies of Bulgaria June 1991
Despite the political changes that have occurred in Bulgaria since Todor Zhivkov's resignation in November 1989, Gypsies continued to be the targets of discrimination, as they have been throughout the country's history. The disparate treatment they receive is reflected in housing, education and the work place. Further, the government restricts Gypsies' political activity by denying them the right to form political parties based on ethnicity. (0316) 80 pp., $7.00/5.95


Croatia: Second Class Citizens -- The Serbs of Croatia March 1999
Despite positive developments in terms of the repeal of some discriminatory legislation, and a generally stable security situation, Serbs remain second class citizens in Croatia. They are frequently unable to exercise the most basic rights: to live in their own homes, to receive pensionsand social security benefits after a lifetime of work, to be recognized as citizens in the country of their birth, and in many cases, to return to and live freely in Croatia. (D1103) 62pp., $7.00

Civil and Political Rights in Croatia October 1995
Although attacks against Serbs and their property had decreased since mid-1992, the harassment and intimidation of Serbs, the destruction of Serbian property, and the burning of Serbian villages increased markedly following the Croatian government's recapture of areas formerly held by rebel Serb forces in Croatia in 1995. The forcible repatriation of Bosnian men and, at times, discrimination between Bosnian Croats and Muslims seeking refuge in Croatia, marred Croatia's generally good treatment of refugees. (1487) 176 pp., $15.00/12.95

Czech Republic

Roma in the Czech Republic:Foreigners in their Own Land June 1996
In 1995 alone, there were at least 181 reported attacks against Roma or foreigners in the Czech Republic and many other assaults go unreported. One murder in particular, that of Tibor Berki in May 1995, incited a public debate about racism and prompted the government to take more forceful measures. While these changes are steps in the right direction, they do not go far enough to combat the serious problem of racist violence and discrimination against the estimated two to three hundred thousand Roma in the Czech Republic. (D811) 39 pp., $5.00/2.95


Integrating Estonia's Non-Citizen Minority October 1993
Problems exist concerning the successful integration of Estonia's large non-citizen, non-Estonian speaking population, nearly 40 percent of the country's 1.6 million residents. (D520) 41 pp., $5.00/2.95


"Germany for Germans": Xenophobia and Racist Violence in Germany April 1995
During the period since unification, Germany experienced a disturbing escalation in violent crimes against minority groups, especially those who are perceived as not ethnic German. Hostility against foreigners linked up with right-wing and neo-Nazi movements to yield incidents of brutal physical assaults and deaths. Anti-Semitic crimes, as well as right-wing crimes against the handicapped and homosexuals, were also on the rise. (1495) 120 pp., $10.00/8.95

"Foreigners Out":Xenophobia & Right-Wing Violence in Germany October 1992
A long line of anti-foreigner crimes occurred since the 1990 unification of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Rioting skinheads throwing Molotov cocktails at refugee shelters, onlookers applauding and cheering, slogans such as "foreigners out" and "Germany for Germans," inevitably recalled images of Nazi terror during the Third Reich. Physical injury, fear and humiliation became a daily experience for foreigners in unified Germany. (088X) 52 pp., $7.00/5.95


Greece:The Turks of Western Thrace January 1999
This report examines the situation of the ethnic Turkish minority of Thrace, a region of Greece. Ethnic Turks have resided in Thrace since at least the fourteenth century, and are Greek citizens, but the Greek state has for the most part been unable to accept the fact that one can be a loyal Greek citizen and, at the same time, an ethnic Turk proud of his or her culture and religion. (D1101) 38pp., $5.00

The Macedonians of Greece May 1994
Although ethnic Macedonians in northern Greece make up a large minority with their own language and culture, their internationally-recognized human rights and even their existence are vigorously denied by the Greek government. Free expression is restricted; the government does not permit the teaching of the Macedonian language; and ethnic Macedonians, particularly rights activists, are harassed by the government and subjected to economic and social pressures resulting from this harassment. (1320) 88 pp., $7.00/5.95


Rights Denied: The Roma of Hungary July 1996
The major social and structural upheavals in Hungarian society since the collapse of communism, coupled with increasingly open discrimination, have had a disproportionately large and negative impact on Roma, whose low social status, lack of access to education, and isolation make them relatively unable to defend themselves and their interests. (1681) 160 pp., $15.00/12.95

The Gypsies of Hungary July 1993
Romas continue to suffer serious discrimination, and at times violence, at the hands of fellow citizens, and many public officials appear to exhibit the same behavior (1126) 80 pp., $7.00/5.95


A Threat to "Stability":Human Rights Violations in Macedonia June 1996
This report addresses, among other areas of human rights violations, the status of Macedonia's many national minorities, especially regarding discriminatory treatment in state employment and the lack of minority language education for the sizable Albanian population. (1703) 120 pp., $10.00/8.95


Lynch Law:Violence Against Roma in Romania November 1994
On September 20, 1993, 3 Roma (Gypsy) men were killed by a mob in the village of Hadareni following the stabbing death of an ethnic Romanian. During the violence, 13 Roma houses were set on fire and destroyed and an additional 4 houses were seriously damaged. Approximately 170 Roma were also forced to flee the village due to the violence. Almost a year passed and although local prosecutors indicated that they were ready to issue arrest warrants, no one was brought to justice. (D617) 41 pp., $5.00/2.95

Ethnic Hungarians in Post-Ceausescu Romania, September 1993
Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, Romania experienced a dramatic increase in xenophobia and racist propaganda characterized by an increasingly vocal press and right-wing political parties. We found that the Hungarian minority continued to face obstacles in equal access to education in its mother language, and suffered restrictions on freedom of assembly, association and speech by right-wing nationalists elected to local office. (1150) 152 pp., $10.00/8.95

The Persecution of Gypsies in Romania September 1991
Since the 1989 revolution, rarely a month passed without another Gypsy village being attacked. Gypsy homes were burned, their possessions destroyed, they were chased from their villages, and often not allowed to return. Gypsy political parties, cultural unions and newspapers began to raise the issues of discrimination and ethnic hatred that were not discussed for decades, and were raising the consciousness of the Gypsy people about their shared cultural heritage and common history of persecution. (0375) 136 pp., $10.00/8.95


"No Happiness Remains:" Civilian Killings, Pillage, and Rape in Alkhan-yurt, Chechnya March 2000

Russian soldiers went on a rampage in the Chechen village of Alkhan-Yurt in December 1999, looting and burning dozens of homes and summarily executing at least fourteen civilians, according to the 32-page report. The report criticizes Russia's military and political leadership for failing to investigate the crime, and charges that Russia's military command is complicit to the abuses. The events in Alkhan-Yurt were previously revealed in Human Rights Watch press releases, but the new report provides a more comprehensive account of the massacre and its victims. When the allegations first emerged, the Russian military and political leadership dismissed them out of hand, claiming that Chechen rebels had unleashed an "information war." Then, as evidence of the killing mounted, the military procuracy was forced to open a criminal investigation into the events. However, this investigation: it focused only on the period leading up to and including the seizure of the village by Russian forces, although the rampage took place in the two following weeks. The military procuracy told Human Rights Watch that it had closed the investigation and no one was charged. (D1205) 35pp, $5.00

February 5: A Day of Slaughter in Novye Aldi June 2000
On February 5, 2000, Russian forces engaged in widespread killing, arson, rape and looting in Aldi. The victims included an eighty-two-year-old woman, and a one-year-old-boy with his twenty-nine-year-old mother, who was eight months pregnant. The 46-page report criticizes the failure of the Russian authorities to undertake a credible investigation into the massacre and provide adequate protection for witnesses. Human Rights Watch previously documented the events in Aldi in a February 23 press release, but the new report documents in detail the killings of forty of the victims, along with six cases of rape, and the widespread arson and looting of civilian homes. Russian authorities have themselves admitted that special riot police units (in Russian, OMON) from the city of St. Petersburg and Riazan province were in Aldi on February 5. The military procurator passed the case over to the Grozny civilian procurator, stating that OMON units do not fall under his supervision. Three civilian procurators are currently investigating the killings. The failure to address what amounts to war crimes in Aldi directly contradicts Putin's statement on May 29 that "all violations of the law in Chechnya will be stamped out in the most severe fashion regardless of who committed them." (D1208) 43pp, $5.00

Russian Federation: Ethnic Discrimination in Southern Russia August 1998
Ethnic discrimination in the Russian Federation persisted and perhaps even worsened since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The government failed to combat discrimination and was in many ways responsible for perpetuating discriminatory practices. (D1008) 38 pp., $5.00

Crime or Simply Punishment?: Racists Attacks by Moscow Law Enforcement September 1995
Russian society has been hit hard in recent years by destabilizing changes. An unprecedented wave of crime, population shifts, and crises related to economic transition raised the urgent need for a sense of control and for someone to blame. Increasingly, the scapegoat in both public perception and state policy was people of color. (D712) 32 pp., $5.00/2.95

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Kosovo: Rape As A Weapon of "Ethnic Cleansing" March 2000
Human Rights Watch found that rape and other forms of sexual violence were used in Kosovo in 1999 as weapons of war and instruments of systematic "ethnic cleansing." Rapes were used deliberately as an instrument to terrorize the civilian population, extort money from families, and push people to flee their homes, thus furthering the goal of forcing ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. (D1203) 39 pp, $5.00

Abuses against Serbs and Roma in the New Kosovo August 1999
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 164,000 Serbs left Kosovo during the seven weeks since Yugoslav and Serb forces withdrew and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) entered the province. Serbs and Roma remaining in Kosovo were subject to repeated incidents of harassment, intimidation, and beatings Most seriously, there was a spate of murders and abductions of Serbs since mid-June, including the late July massacre of Serb farmers. (D1110) 18 pp., 3.00

"Ethnic Cleansing" in the Glogovac Municipality July 1999
On June 15, 1999, Serbian and Yugoslav forces withdrew from the town of Glogovac in the Drenica region of central Kosovo, in accordance with the agreement signed by NATO and Yugoslavia's military leadership. Thousands of traumatized ethnic Albanian civilians promptly emerged from their homes and the nearby hills for the first time since NATO raids began on March 24. This report documents some of the abuses and war crimes that took place in the Glogovac region between March 19 and June 15. (D1108) 26 pp., $5.00

Persecution Persists: Human Rights Violations in Kosovo December 1996
The international community appropriately reacted with horror to the present crackdown on anti-government demonstrators and the independent media in Belgrade. At the same time, however, it was poised to squander human rights leverage with the government of Slobodon Milosevic and abandon the Albanians of Kosovo. (D818) 44 pp., $5.00/2.

Open Wounds: Human Rights Abuses in Kosovo March 1994
This report details escalating human rights abuses in Kosovo, the province of Serbia that was 90 percent ethnic Albanian. With the world's attention focused on Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbian authorities apparently felt free to accelerate their violations of human rights in Kosovo. (1312) 168 pp., $15.00/12.95


Turkey: Human Rights and the European Union Accession Partnership September 2000
At its summit in Helsinki in December 1999, the European Union (E.U.) recognized Turkey as a candidate for membership in the union, subject to the understanding that actual negotiations for membership will not commence until Turkey meets the political criteria for E.U. membership established in Copenhagen in 1993. Once adopted by the Commission and the E.U. Council of Ministers in late 2000, the Accession Partnership document, which will also include economic and institutional requirements, will become the E.U.'s formal list of tasks that Turkey must complete in order to accede to the union. Turkey will then produce a national program for accession that mirrors the Accession Partnership, and progress will be monitored by means of the annual 'Regular Report from the European Commission on progress towards accession' on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria, as is done for all applicant states. Turkey's history of gross and widespread human rights violations has been thoroughly documented by non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, and by international governmental organizations including the United Nations (U.N.) and the Council of Europe. As a consequence of Turkey's persistent failure to follow the recommendations of such bodies, serious violations persist today. (D1210) 31pp., $5.00

The Greeks of Turkey March 1992
At the time of this report, the Greek community in Turkey was dwindling, elderly and frightened. Its fear stemmed from an appalling history of pogroms and expulsions suffered at the hands of the Turkish government. Human Rights Watch found that the government there continued to violate the human rights of the Greek minority. (0561) 64 pp., $7.00/5.95

United Kingdom

Racist Violence in the United Kingdom April 1997
Estimates of the number of racist attacks, based on the official British Crime Survey of 1991, indicated that approximately 32,500 violent assaults and an additional 26,000 acts of vandalism were racially motivated; overall, a full 18 percent of all crimes against ethnic minorities were considered to be racially motivated. A disturbing number of minorities described acts of brutality committed by the police that also appeared to be racially motivated. (2025) 112 pp., $10.00/8.95

Former USSR

"Punished peoples" of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin's Deportations
September 1991
This report examines the situation of ten Soviet peoples who suffered mass national deportation from their homelands under Stalin, ostensibly for betraying their country during the Nazi invasion. Yet the evidence suggests that, by and large, the accused nationalities had acted loyally in defending their country. Ultimately, assigning collective guilt and punishment by reason of ethnic affiliation was a great crime from which its victims still suffer. (0391) 84 pp., $7.00/5.95


Crackdown in the Farghona Valley: Arbitrary Arrests and Discrimination May 1998
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Republic of Uzbekistan made little progress in moving away from Soviet-style repression of human rights. A government policy of intolerance toward what it perceived as the primary threat to state stability - Muslims whom the government generally referred to as "Wahhabis" - made a travesty of the government's assertion that the stability born of repression is necessary to achieve democracy. (D1004) 33pp., $5.00

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