A new Ukrainian minister has vowed to stop xenophobia and interethnic hatred in his country.
Dr. Aleksandr Sagan, recently appointed head of the Ukrainian State Committee on Nationalities and Religions, told a news conference in Kiev on Feb. 14 that his ministry will fight xenophobia and interethnic hatred in Ukraine as well as implement mechanisms to prevent them.
Sagan plans to establish an interdepartmental council of experts, including scientists, political and other public figures, to counteract xenophobia, race discrimination and hatred. The council will coordinate the State Committee’s activities to counteract conflict based on ethnic and religious grounds with other ministers and departments.
Sagan also spoke about the importance of intensifying relations with embassies, international organizations and foundations in order to protect the rights and cultures of ethnic minorities in Ukraine. He promised to do his utmost to protect the rights of ethnic minorities, especially Jews.
Last year, under the orders of President Victor Yuschenko, the Ukrainian Secret Service set up a special unitfor counteracting xenophobia and ethnic intolerance. The Minister of Foreign Affairs also established the post of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary on counteraction of racism, xenophobia and discrimination.