Tag: european court of human rights
- “Forced evictions are not a Roma rights issue”
That was the prevailing belief at the ERRC about two years ago. Here are some of the reasons the ERRC refused to spend time or money on forced evictions:
- Evictions are about poverty, not about discrimination.
- It looks bad. To be more specific:
- We need stop making Roma look like victims, and instead focus on Roma who do things like fight to integrate their schools.
- Forced evictions pit Roma lawbreakers against landowners with property rights. (“What if someone decided to live in your garden”, someone who didn’t like our forced evictions work once told me. “I bet you’d call the police”.)
- We are making it look like Roma want to live in squalor.
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 Marek Balaz
On this day, back in 2007 the ERRC’s long struggle against school segregation was vindicated in an historic judgment by the European Court of Human Rights. When the ERRC first brought D.H. and others vs. the Czech Republic before the court, Roma children in the Czech Republic were 27 times more likely than non-Roma children to be placed in "special schools" for the mentally disabled. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled this pattern of segregation to be unlawful and discriminatory. Although the case was labeled Europe’s own Brown vs. the Board of Education, nine years after the judgment, the struggle to end school segregation of Romani children continues.
In a sickening display on the seventh anniversary of the firebomb attack on a Romani family home, a handful of neo-Nazis assembled in the Czech town of Vítkov to voice support for the arsonists. The attack injured three people and nearly killed toddler Natálka, who sustained third and fourth-degree burns over more than 80% of her body. The first speaker at the rally on the 18th of April issued a call to raise money for “the boys who are in jail”. Other speakers interspersed their abuse of Roma and refugees as vermin and scum with claims that ‘the boys’ received disproportionately severe sentences for the attack; incidentally, a sentiment shared by former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.
On Monday, October 26th, Pope Francis spoke to an audience of 7,000 people from the Roma and Sinti communities on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul IV's meeting with Roma people in an informal settlement near Rome. While many were happy to receive his blessing, others were less impressed with what he had to say. In this guest blog, William Bila takes issue with the Pontiff’s message.