via ERRC: Rights Groups Demand Protection for Roma in Gyöngyöspata

Link to the original article
17 March 2011

Budapest, London, New York, 18 March 2011: Yesterday, the European Roma Rights Centre, Amnesty International and Human Rights First sent a letter urging Hungarian authorities to intervene and protect the Romani residents of Gyöngyöspata from the intimidation and harassment they have been subjected to by the vigilante organisation, Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület (Civil Guard Association for a Better Future), since 1 March.

The Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület have been patrolling the town of Gyöngyöspata day and night. They reportedly prevent the Romani residents from sleeping by shouting during the night, threaten them with weapons and dogs and follow them every time they leave their houses, unimpeded by local police. The desperate Roma residents are afraid to go to school, to work or even to buy food. Finally, the Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület indicated that, having successfully established their presence in Gyöngyöspata, they will also set up chapters in other towns to expand their “patrols”.

The Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület patrols have been supported by the far-right political party Jobbik, which organised a march of thousands through the village in black military uniform on 6 March. According to the ERRC’s monitoring, there were at least 48 attacks against Roma in Hungary between 2008 and 2010, which resulted in at least 9 deaths. The presence of anti-Roma vigilante groups in Roma neighbourhoods adds to growing inter-ethnic tensions and fuels a climate of violence.

The organisations called for Hungarian authorities to fulfil their domestic and international human rights obligations in Gyöngyöspata, to intervene immediately to ensure the situation does not escalate into physical violence and to protect the Roma from intimidation and harassment.

Robert Kushen, Executive Director of the ERRC, said: “On April 7-8, Hungary will play host to a major European Union meeting to address Roma exclusion.  It is critical that the Government of Hungary lead by example, and protect Roma within its borders from intimidation and harassment.”

For further information, contact:
Sinan Gokçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer
sinan.gokcen@errc.org
+36.30.500.1324

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One Comment on “via ERRC: Rights Groups Demand Protection for Roma in Gyöngyöspata”

  1. DAVID says:

    Dearr all,
    All Europe knows that the present Hungarian Parliament obviously hates the Roma minority. Therefore they behave like the way they do now. But the point is where are now the so many Roma Rights organisations who fulfill human rights project, what do they do to solve the problems n those areas; what are the authorities intenting to do and when? I do not think that anyone cares about the “stupid and dirty gypsies”. Nobody tells nothing on TV news about that case and nobody wants to discuss pn the topic because there are too many peple and organizations to receive grants for their projects but when time comes to make the real thing and achieve real results, there’s nobody. Where are they all?


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