by TASZ / Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
The 2/3 majority Hungarian Parliament, with a resolution published on June 7, set up an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the events in Gyöngyöspata. Despite the fact that based on the title and preamble of the resolution, the task of the committee is to investigate the background of criminal activity by uniformed personnel and to assist in eliminating it, out of the nine tasks listed by the resolution five (!) are concerned with the evacuation of the Roma by the Red Cross and the role of Richard Field. The resolution – recalling the documents of the staged trials of the 1950s – is prejudiced when, among others, it states: “establishing who and why claimed untruthfully with regard to the long-existing activities of the Red Cross that the evacuation of the Romas from the scene was taking place, what was the reason and objective for this causing of panic”.
In Gyöngyöspata, Hungary, ever since March 2010 extremist anti-Roma groups – pretending to be militiamen and vindicating the right to maintain public order – have started a systematic campaign of intimidation against the Roma. For weeks they illegally patrolled the village and provoked the Roma adults and children. The government and the police have contributed to the escalation of the situation by their inaction.
To read the full press release go to this link: http://tasz.hu/en/news/show-parliamentary-committee-investigates-events-gyongyospata
Time to transform international obligations into effective implementation at home – Press Release of the UN Special Rapporteur on RacismPosted: June 1, 2011
Hungary / Racism: “Time to transform international obligations into effective implementation at home” – UN expert
BUDAPEST / GENEVA (31 May 2011) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism, Githu Muigai, commended the Hungarian Government’s efforts to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country. However, at the end of his first mission* to Hungary from 23-27 May, Mr. Muigai drew attention to a number of crucial challenges yet to be overcome.
Since the last visits of the Special Rapporteur on racism in 1999 and the Independent Expert on minorities issues in 2006, the expert noted that Hungary has made significant legislative, political and institutional efforts to fulfill its international human rights obligations and commitments with respect to the situation of national and ethnic minorities and the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
“But challenges remain,” according to Mr. Muigai, “including as to the implementation of the measures taken.” These are some of them:
Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants
The situation of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants is a matter that calls for some attention. Complaint of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia by refugees and asylum seekers on a daily basis were reported during the mission and the Special Rapporteur expressed his concern at the conditions of detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, including women, elderly persons, and children. It is important for the Government to ensure that it fully complies with its international human rights obligations.
National and Ethnic Minorities
Efforts undertaken by the Government to address the needs of, and problems faced by national and ethnic minorities ought to be noted. However, it is important to ensure that the recent constitutional changes will not weaken the current legal and institutional framework for the protection of minorities rights.
While the Government has developed key important measures to address the situation of Roma, their situation has not improved in the last years but rather worsened. They have been the most affected by Hungary’s difficult transition period from socialism to a market-based economy and they continue to face racism, racial discrimination and intolerance in the areas of employment, education, housing and health. Reports of violence and abuse against Roma by the police, and discrimination in the judiciary, including in the criminal system, were also brought to Mr. Muigai’s attention. “If we do not act now, there may not be a tomorrow on this issue,” he said. “There is a great urgency to reinvigorate the education of Roma with all the necessary resources of the Hungarian Government. Hungary will have succeeded when it removes Roma from poverty, lack of education and unemployment”.
Immediate action is required to tackle anti-Semitism in Hungary. The Government must be vigilant and the necessary mechanisms to address this issue should be set up.
Extremist political parties, movements and groups
“Hungary is a young and dynamic democracy,” the Special Rapporteur said calling upon the vigilance of the Government vis-à-vis the resurgence of extremist political parties, movements and groups, some of which are alleged to have racist platform. The expert also drew the Government’s attention to hate speech. It is important to prevent such behaviour and ensure that those responsible for racist acts are held accountable and the victims provided with appropriate legal remedies.
During his mission, Mr. Muigai travelled to Ózd, Gyöngyöspata, Pécs and Mohács. He held meetings with the local authorities, the representatives of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, the Ministry of National resources, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The expert also held discussions with the Parliament, members of the municipal court in Budapest, political parties, representatives of civil society, lawyers, community members, academics and private citizens. The expert also met with the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. Mr. Muigai also visited a prison in Budapest (Fővárosi Büntetés-végrehajtási Intézet) and a school in Ózd.
A full report of the Special Rapporteur’s mission to Hungary will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2012.
Githu Muigai (Kenya) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in August 2008. He is a lawyer specialized in international human rights law. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on racism was established in 1993 by the former Commission on Human Rights to examine incidents of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and official measures to overcome them. It was further extended by the Council in 2011.
(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur’s: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/NewsSearch.aspx?MID=SR_Racism
OHCHR Country Page – Hungary: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/HUIndex.aspx
For more information and media requests please contact: Ms. Kellie- Shandra Ognimba (Tel: +41 22 917 92 68 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or write to email@example.com.
CoMMMunity.hu is putting on a Media Workshop about Crisis Reporting.
Time: 2:30 pm – Wednesday, 1 June
Location: Gödör Klub (1051 Budapest, Erzsébet tér).
The event is open to public! Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The workshop will be moderated by Ferenc Hammer, media sociologist, and will examine the media coverage of the recent Gyöngyöspata events. The event is organized with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Runa Hellinga, a journalist from the Netherlands.
Élő Anita (Heti Válasz)
Gavra Gábor (Hírszerző)
Magyari Péter (Index)
Papinot Ferenc (Sosinet) és
Tódor János (MaNcs, ÉS, Amaro Drom)
To go to the original invite: http://www.commmunity.hu/2011/05/28/krizisujsagiras-muhelybeszelgetes/
To go to the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169037479823481
On Tuesday evening, a fight broke out between the local Roma and supporters of Véderő, who sneaked back to Gyöngyöspata. The Roma say the extreme right wingers in uniforms were prvoking them all day and hit one of them in the end. The leader of Véderő said, around 100-120 loval Roma attacked four men, who were walking peacefully without uniforms. Four are injured, one is badly hurt. Hundreds of police have arrived.
A fight burst out around 9 pm at Gyöngyöspata on Tuesday night. The local Roma – recently known because of the trainings held there by the extreme right-wing group, Véderő– said to Index that something snapped for good in this town, where many are fleeing from. The representative of the National Ambulance service told index, four people were taken to hospital in Hatvan, one with severe and three with less severe injuries. Hundreds of police have arrived to Gyongyospata.
János Ladó, representative of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation who was on the ground, said to Index that more and more uniformed Véderő members were sneaking back on Tuesday. They, and their local Gyöngyöspata supporters were provoking those Roma who live not in the Roma neighbourhood, but in the central areas of the town. Allegedly, they also threatened them with a gun during the day.
By the evening, in the middle of a birthday celebration, the provocation increased, and more and more gathered on both sides. The Roma called the police, first one patrol arrived, then more policemen.
While the crowd was gathering in the central areas of the town, some threw stones at the windows of one of the houses in the Roma neighbourhood, some 10 minutes walk from there, then assaulted a 14-year-old local Roma boy. A serious fight in the Roma neighbourhood followed; according to Ladó some were seriously injured, he saw three. Police called for more police backup. This was also confirmed by representative of TASZ [HCLU- Hungarian Civil Liberties Union] who saw a group of police cars on the highway, on their way to Gyöngyöspata.
Captain Bálint Soltész, spokesman of Heves Megye Police Headquarters, confirmed to Index that the two groups really ’got across’ on Tuesday night. According to Soltész, some were injured, at least the ambulance was called, but he could not report any details, such as how many police arrived and whether they asked for backup.
Ladó claims that the situation is very tense in the town. After Tuesday’s fights panic is palpable, the situation got worse even compared to the recent days.
A local Roma activist said to Index that he cannot report as he is about to evacuate his family from the village. He says that there was no peace even in the recent days: many villagers hosted extremists of Véderő, who were ‘hiding out’ there in the recent days after having been sent away from their camp during the weekend. There is news spreading in the town, that an armed attack happened, but there is no information about shootings. We must remember that upon the return of the local Roma women and children on Sunday, after they fled on Friday, Janos Farkas, local Roma leader said after the next incident the minority will leave the town for good.
Tamás Eszes, leader of Véderő who bought land in Gyöngyöspata and organised the military training during the weekend, said after 11pm that he was on his way to Gyöngyöspata, where – according to him – 100-120 Romas attacked four civilian, peacefully walking men with pegs. He says that one of them was a member of Véderő, but others were locals, and all of them had to be taken to the hospital.
Political catastrophe tourism
Laszlo Horvath, county government representative said to MTI: it is impossible to handle the situation now. He says the ‘catastrophe tourism’ must end, this is where the political festival that started in March has led. The politician walk around a few streets in Gyöngyöspata and the locals told him “they are tired of being threatened as Hungarians in their own homes” and “there are a lot of policemen here, where have they been?”. There were some who said the video recordings of on the ground events will disappear again – the fight was recorded. Many criticized the party LMP [Politics Can Be Different], because they are said to turn up after such incidents and give money and such to the Roma, who then feel what they do is right.
What has happened so far?
Members of Véderő arrived to Gyöngyöspata 16th April, according to the local Roma only to intimidate them. The right-wing group planned to organise a training camp at a wine-cellar that they were provided by the villagers. The self-appointed guards planned to invade the area at the weekend.
The series right-wing organisations’ marches started when a local inhabitant committed suicide in the end of February. According to the local Jobbik president, the elderly man killed himself, because some Roma, whose houses were damaged by floods, were to move in as his neighbours. The topic was snapped up by Jobbik, members of For a Better Future Civil Guard group appeared, then Véderő bought a land on the hillside above the Roma neighbourhood.
The camp was dismantled by the police 22nd April. Red Cross and and American entrepreneur took the Roma women and children from the village in the morning: some 300 hundred left Gyöngyöspata by bus. They were taken to a camp in Csillebérc, but have gone back home by now.
Members of Véderő appeared in Gyöngyöspata on Monday again, where they still plan on holding their military camp about self-defense and weapon use.
To go to the original article: http://index.hu/belfold/2011/04/26/verekedes_gyongyospatan/
Translated by L.B.
The tension that has been growing for weeks between members of Véderő – the paramilitary extremist group – and the local Roma has burst out.
A fight broke out between the two groups in Gyöngyöspata, many are injured and they called the ambulance – confirmed Bálint Soltész, press spokesman of Heves Megye Police Headquarters, to Hírszerző. Bálint Soltész could not yet tell how many were involved in the fight, how serious the injuries were and why the conflict burst out. According to the spokesman there is enough police is presence in the town, as there has been increased police control in Gyöngyöspata.
According to messages posted on the ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ [Százezren Gyöngyöspatáért] Facebook group, members of Véderő and other extreme right-wing groups invaded the Roma neighbourhood and broke windows. Leader of Véderő claims that Roma attacked the members of Betyársereg and Véderő.
The ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ Facebook posts state that the police blocked entry to Gyöngyöspata, the town is completely cordonned off.
According to the description on the ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ Facebook site “Véderő and their associates stirred some tension in Arany János street, the police appeared there, but in the meanwhile their Véderő fellows got into the Roma neighbourhood from Bajcsy street. Allegedly they knocked over a woman, threw stones at the houses, and the fight burst out, while the police was at Arany János street. Many are injured, on both sides”.
A witness claims that there are no serious injuries. A Roma teenager boy was beaten up by Véderő members, then the Roma who rushed there, beat up two of them. The injured were attended to, one Roma was taken into custody. According to a witness, storm-troops also arrested those members of Betyársereg and Véderő, who were involved in the fight.
There has been no news posted on the Facebook page about the Attila O., the Roma man who was taken into custody. Dozens of Civil Guards For a Better Future [Szebb Jövőért] members, who were not involved in the fight, are gathering at their headquarters. Based on the accounts of the locals, the police is sending the Roma home after they have gathered in the streets hearing what had happened. The police interrogated Gyozo B., the 14-year-old boy, who was abused by Vedero members – based on the accounts this was the primary reason of why the fight broke out.
There have been four injuries in the fight that broke out in Gyöngyöspata, Heves county, on Tuesday night – said MTI. The representative of the National Ambulance Service said to MTI, the first findings have revealed that one of those injured has serious injuries, the other have lighter ones. The injured were taken to the hospital in Hatvan.
To go to the original article: http://hirszerzo.hu/belfold/20110426_gyongyospata_tomegverekedes
Translated by L.B.
It seems that the Gárda has left Gyöngyöspata; this is the latest update from our contact person there. We are on constant alert however, and the locals will call us if and as soon as they return. If this happens we will go to Gyöngyöspata on Friday evening as planned. PLEASE BE ALERT!
As you know, the most recent news is that 3 towns are potential targets for the Gárda and these will probably be their next destinations: Hajdúhadház, Tiszavasvári, and Borsodnádasd.
The leading politician and MP of Jobbik, Gabor Vona, is said to be joining the civil guards(!) – potentially in Hajdúhadház. We are not sure where they are going first or when – they might go to more places at the same time. We must be on alert.
At the same time, the Roma community in Gyöngyöspata is traumatized and the last two weeks have left the whole town in an incredibly tense state – they need ongoing attention and assistance. They have asked us for psychologists for the children, and for FOOD! We could use your help in this – many of them had to spend money to leave the town due to the Garda intimidation, and spent their savings in the process. They have also hosted every group that has been going there in the past two weeks. Right now, we really need FOOD, and/or money, whichever. I spoke to the locals, and in particular they could really use FLOUR, POTATOS, CANNED FOOD and so on – there are 115 families living there.
We need help with:
– psychological assistance (psychologists, etc)
– legal aid: TASZ and NEKI are working on this one
– FOOD: see above
– SUNDAY trip: we could combine all these and go to Gyöngyöspata on Sunday if there are enough cars and people – although the mayor said it’s too early to have a solidarity action.
I will keep you informed as soon as we know more and please keep us updated if you have any news, suggestions, or ideas.
Thank you all for you help!