Just one week after the Fidesz government launched its latest brazen assault on Hungarian NGOs specifically targeting the Helsinki Committee, the Committee scored a victory against the state in Strasbourg. In a judgment in the case of Király and Dömötör v. Hungary issued on 17 January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that the Hungarian State violated Article 8 of the Convention in the wake of violent incidents in the village of Devecser, during an anti-Roma demonstration attended by nine far-right groups and members of Jobbik. The applicants were awarded EUR 10,700 each in damages, and the ECtHR sent a clear message to the Hungarian Government about its positive obligations and abject failures to protect Roma communities from intimidation by far-right extremists.
This is the second part of the review of what was a truly toxic 2016. In terms of strategic litigation, it was a busy year for the ERRC with nearly a hundred cases concerning 16 countries pending before domestic and international bodies.
Prime Minister Róbert Fico was quick to hail Slovakia’s EU presidency as a great success. Within days of the country ending its six-month stint at the helm of the European Union, Fico opened the New Year with a press statement describing the Presidency as “truly successful in every extent, all the highest representatives of the EU confirmed that.
The sheer shittiness of 2016 was captured in the end of year video by the comedian John Oliver. As Gary Younge wrote recently, this was a year in which “vulgarity, divisiveness and exclusion won – a triumph for dystopian visions of race, nation and ethnicity … Immigrants and minorities are fearful, bigots are emboldened, discourse is coarsened.”
By Benjamin Ignac
While Donald Trump and his supporters spent much of 2016 chanting “Build the wall” to keep the Mexicans out of the US, the Serbian government has already gone ahead and built their version of the wall which now separates the Roma community from the surrounding population in Krusevac, Serbia.