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.
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.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), in its concluding observations just issued, called on the Italian authorities to halt all further evictions of Roma, and to scotch any plans to establish new segregated camps. This stands as a forthright vindication of the concerns highlighted by the ERRC in its recent submission to the Committee.
CEDAW has once more exposed the deep discrimination and inequalities faced by Roma and Egyptian women in Albania. The Committee’s concluding observations reiterated that Albanian authorities should adopt targeted laws, policies and programmes to ensure equal rights for disadvantaged women, and to improve access for Roma and Egyptian women to education, health services, employment and housing.
Yet another year, yet another Roma Platform, and still we are seeing slow progress in terms of any meaningful, concrete outcomes from these meetings.
On 29 and 30 November, I attended the launch of the 10th European Roma Platform in Brussels. The main aim of the Platform is to present a high level forum bringing various stakeholders from the grassroots, local and national, and European level to the discussion table. My experiences this year however, showed me that once again this was not strictly the case.