Hungarian courts rule against discrimination and abuse of Roma

The Roma Press Center reported that on April 22, the second instance County Court of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, in central Hungary, had handed down decision in the case of discrimination against Romani children at the Ferenc Pethe school in Tiszvasvári in eastern Hungary. The children alleged that they suffered discrimination by being assigned to separate classes, by being forced to dine in a separate cafeteria at the school, and by being forced to graduate in a ceremony separate from non-Romani pupils at the school (See „Snapshots from Around Europe", Roma Rights, Autumn 1998 and „Legal Defence", Roma Rights, Spring 1998). The court upheld the decision of the first instance court in Nyíregyháza, which had ruled that the local government must pay compensation of 100,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 400 euros) per child in compensation for illegal discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.

In other news of court cases involving Roma in Hungary, on May 5 the Court of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county found the municipality of Karcag guilty of damaging activities in administration, and ruled that it will have to pay damages of up to 1,000,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 4000 euros) to the claimants. Between 1992 and 1996, the local government gave out temporary social benefits only if the applicants were willing to do voluntary social work for the town (See „Snapshots from Around Europe", Roma Rights, 1/99). The county court found that the claimants had in fact done work for the local government, and obliged the local authorities to pay damages including an amount equivalent to wages in the sum of 633,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 2500 euros), and interest on these wages for the years since the work was done, which could make the total sum as much as 1,000,000 Hungarian forints. The court also ordered the local government to pay court costs and other expenses of 44,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 180 euros).

(NEKI, Roma Press Center)

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