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Court Punishes Disco for Denying Entrance to Roma

26 August 2005

Popular Budapest Club Fined for Affront to Dignity of Roma

In a case brought by the ERRC together with local counsel, a Budapest court has awarded damages to two Romani men after they were barred from entrance to the discotheque Zold Pardon, a popular local nightclub. The decision is final and binding.

The facts of the case are as follows:

On 14 September 2002, two Romani men, Balint Vadaszi and Istvan Vadaszi, accompanied by two women tried to enter a popular open air club called Zold Pardon in Budapest. The two women -- one of them Romani, both had white skin – entered the club easily, whereas the two men with dark skin were asked to provide identity documents. The two men asked for an explanation as to why they were being refused entrance, because in the meanwhile, they saw many young people entering the place without being asked for identity papers. However, even after one of the men had identified himself, the two plaintiffs were not allowed to enter the club and they ultimately left the premises.

On the basis of the witness testimonies and the recorded video evidence, a lawsuit was filed in which violations of personal rights were alleged, based on the infringement of the right to equal treatment, as regulated i.e. by Article 76 of the Hungarian Civil Code, as well as by Articles 2(1) of Convention for Elimination of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination. The case was brought prior to the adoption by the Hungarian legislature, in December 2003 of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.

A first instance court refused the complaint on 16 September 2004. However, on appeal, on 25 August 2005, the Budapest City Court held that the Zold Pardon Ltd. and the Doorman-Sec Ltd. operating the Zold Pardon Club in Budapest, violated the plaintiffs' right to dignity. The court did not find an infringement of the requirement of equal treatment based on racial discrimination, apparently because Hungary's anti-discrimination law had not yet been adopted at the time the incident took place. The judge however stated that security guards are not entitled to check the identity documents of prospective guests, a key finding with implications for future cases.

The court awarded 100,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 400 EUR) in non-pecuniary damages to each of the victims. Zold Pardon Ltd. and Doorman-Sec Ltd. were further ordered to refrain from further violations, and were ordered to send a letter of apology to the two Romani men within 15 days. The decision is legally binding. The plaintiffs were represented by local counsel Bea Bodrogi as part of the European Roma Rights Centre Legal Defence program.

For further information on the case, please contact Bea Bodrogi at +36-1-303-8973 (bbodrogi@yahoo.com) and/or ERRC Legal Monitor Rita Izsák at +36-1-413-2243 (rita.izsak@errc.org).

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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