UN Bodies Urge Hungary to Act Against Roma Rights Abuses

11 November 2010

BUDAPEST, 11 NOVEMBER 2010: On Monday, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and a group of Hungarian human rights organisations urged the Human Rights Council to act firmly against flagrant human rights abuses of Roma in Hungary. The Council will meet in May 2011 to consider Hungarian compliance with an array of international human rights obligations.

In a joint submission on the human rights situation in Hungary the submitting organisations raised concerns about the ongoing discrimination that Roma suffer in the areas of employment, education, health care and housing. There is no adequate legal protection against the exploitation of Romani women in human trafficking, gender-based violence and domestic violence, and Romani children are over-represented in the Hungarian child protection system.

The NGOs submitted that Roma still face discrimination by the police, in judicial procedures and during prosecution. Detainees suffer ill-treatment at the hands of law enforcement officials, particularly if they are Romani. Hungarian police have not properly accounted for racial motivation in violent attacks against Roma, so that such attacks are not usually classified as hate crimes. There are no reliable statistics on racially-motivated crimes in Hungary.

Earlier this year, the ERRC, the Chance for Children Foundation and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee submitted documentation to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) highlighting the above mentioned issues. In its Concluding Observations, the HRC expressed concern about widespread discrimination against Roma in education, housing, health and political participation. It also expressed concern about “virulent and widespread anti-Roma statements by public figures, the media and members of the disbanded Magyar Gàrda.” The Committee called for clear guidelines concerning hate speech and an investigation of all perpetrators of hate speech or hate crimes.

The text of the joint UPR submission is available here. Submitting organisations included the Chance for Children Foundation, the European Roma Rights Centre, the Foundation for the Women of Hungary, the Hungarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities, the Minority Rights Group International, the People Opposing Patriarchy and The City is For All.

The HRC submission and the Concluding Observations are available online.

For more information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Media and Communications Officer, sinan.gokcen@errc.org, +36.30.500.1324


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