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.
The Hungarian government’s reaction to the European Commission launching an infringement procedure veered between feigned bafflement and a petulant accusation that the EU was ‘getting revenge’ because Hungary earlier contested the EU decision on mandatory refugee quotas.
By Bernard Rorke and Orsolya Szendrey
Despite the latest court ruling against Miskolc authorities, the city mayor Ákos Kriza declared that the local government remains determined to continue with its plans to “eliminate slums on the city’s outskirts,” which is ruling party doublespeak for evicting and expelling Roma from Miskolc.
Justice Minister László Trócsányi’s attempts to deny linking Roma with radicalized Islamists prompted blogger Eva Balogh to reach for a term which has a particular resonance in Hungarian: kakistocracy meaning “government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.”
Hungary’s ever-diminishing international reputation took a double hit from the European Union within the space of two days. Hot on the heels of a damning ECRI report on racism in Hungary published on Tuesday June 9, came the harshest condemnation yet from the European Parliament concerning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s illiberal excesses.