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 Radost Zaharieva
The admission by the President Hollande of France’s shameful collaboration in the suffering of Travelling people interned during the Second World War, however belated, is welcome. The best tribute to the survivors of the Romani holocaust would be for the Republic to get serious about combatting anti-Gypsyism in today’s 21st Century France.
In a Milan neighbourhood on the night of Friday 4th of November, Paolo Cagna Ninchi was physically attacked and verbally abused by an unknown assailant on his way home. The motive behind the attack was “because his wife is the Gypsy that goes on TV” (è la zingara che va in televisione). Paolo will need an operation for the injury to his eardrum, but otherwise is physically recovering from the assault.
Hungary should end “as a matter of urgency and without further delay” practices that lead to the continued segregation of Roma children at school; and take immediate action to combat manifestations of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and hate speech, according to a Council of Europe report published this week.
While the attention of the world media remains focused on the absurd and oppressive “Burkini ban” in France, a recent spike in hate crimes against Roma has gone virtually unnoticed. In three attacks within the last few weeks Roma have been firebombed, threatened and beaten at knifepoint in a toxic political climate where racism and xenophobia have become more pronounced. The response of law enforcement has been at best lax. The European Roma Rights Centre has been monitoring the situation of Roma in France for some years, and 2016 is looking decidedly grim.