ERRC submits to European Court of Human Rights on Hungarian Guard Association Case

12 July 2012

Budapest, Strasbourg, 12 July 2012: The European Roma Rights Centre has submitted comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Vona v Hungary, concerning the dissolution of the Hungarian Guard Association. 

In 2007 the Budapest Chief Prosecutor’s Office initiated a court action seeking the dissolution of the Hungarian Guard Association.  The Prosecutor argued that the Hungarian Guard Movement – which held regular marches in Hungarian villages, intimidating Roma – was an integral part of the Association. The Prosecutor claimed that this was an abuse of the right to freedom of assembly and these activities infringed the rights of the Roma. The domestic courts agreed with the Prosecutor, found there were ties between the two organisations and that the activities of the Hungarian Guard Movement violated the rights of others and dissolved the association. The chairman of the Association complained to the European Court of Human Rights that the dissolution of the Association violated his freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The ERRC submission addresses attitudes towards racism in democratic society and discrimination against Roma. The Court must take into account these issues, among others, when it considers restricting freedoms of association and assembly, guaranteed under Article 11. The submission recalls that states have positive obligations to protect against discrimination and various forms of racial hatred.  It also presents material on the broader situation of discrimination against Roma in Hungary and beyond.

The ERRC is not a party or a representative in the case, but was invited to submit comments as a third party. The case was communicated to the Hungarian Government in March 2012, and is currently pending before the Court.

For further information, contact:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre


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