At the end of March, the Eastern European’s strategic member Ukraine goes to the polls amid continued suppression of the rights of the Roma minority as well as opponents of incumbent president Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine is a living hell for the minorities, especially the Roma community. They are intimidated, assaulted, insulted and their socio-economic and political rights are trampled upon with impunity by the Poroshenko administration.

The Bankova, as Ukraine’s presidential administration is known, instills among the minorities nothing else but fear. Had these human rights violations been taking place elsewhere, the vocal EU would probably cry foul and accurately describe the situation is far from being conducive to hold free and fair elections. But such is our current international order that hypocrisy and double-standards is the tools-in-trade for too many. Hence the EU would rather look away from the plight of the Roma minority with amazing ease. After all the EU needs Ukraine, which shares its border with Russia, as an ally so as to keep alive continued threat that harm is literally never too far away from Moscow, the EU’s traditional foe.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed deep concern about Poroshenko’s lackadaisical attitude to the plight of the Roma community. His surrogates, the far rightwing organisations notably the “National Brigades” and the Sich-C14”, enjoy state protection and therefore their dastardly deeds go unpunished.

As things stand, the OHCHR has raised concern that hatred and racially-motivated violence against the Roma community – especially among their most vulnerable – women and children, are on the rise. The UN body has further demanded, without success, that adequate housing be provided for the Roma community as housing is part of global adequate standard of living.

Poroshenko rose to power in 2014 following a wave of violent Euromaiden protests that resulted in fall of the pro-Russian and democratically-elected Viktor Yanukovych. The chaotic regime change led to the cessation of the huge eastern Ukraine Russian-speaking region of Crimea. The disgruntlement further led to the occupation of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast by pro-separatists. With only a month before the elections, the UN estimates that at least 12% of eligible voters will be disenfranchised after Poroshenko shut down more than a dozen voting centres situated in Russia due to the deterioration in the diplomatic relations.

The OHCHR has laid blame for the bulk of political instability at the door of Poroshenko’s government. The continued attacks on the Roma community show, according to the UN body, “a disturbing pattern of systematic persecution” of the Roma community which is compounded by “rising hate speech and stigmatization”.

Presidential contender and a strong opponent of Poroshenko is Vladimir Zelensky, a comedian. When people are tired of murderous regimes and unscrupulous politicians, perhaps voting a comedian in as a president isn’t such a bad idea. Ends