More Evictions of Roma in Hungary

10 July 2002

According to Budapest's 11 District Roma Self-Government, on March 20, 2002, 65-year-old Mr Ferenc Lonci and his 64-year-old wife, both Romani, were evicted from Kondorosi street 45 in Budapest's 11th District. The eviction took place in the absence of Mr and Mrs Lonci, following a decision of the Budapest City Court, which was not subject to appeal. Mr and Mrs Lonci had reportedly occupied the run-down flat for five years, although they did not possess a legal contract to the flat. On May 22, 2002, Budapest's Klub Radio announced that Mr Ferenc Dominák, Head of the Property Management Office for Budapest's 11 District stated that the district had no flat to offer to Mr and Mrs Lonci, and that the district was not obliged to rehouse the couple. Mr Dominiák also stated that the 11 District Municipality does not want to support illegal tenants.

On June 27, 2002, Ms Márta Hága of Budapest's 11th District Roma Self-Government informed the ERRC that Mr and Mrs Lonci were sleeping in city parks and that her office had sent a letter to the 11th District Municipality asking that it provide accommodation for the elderly couple. As of this date, there had been no response from the municipality.

In another case, on November 12, 2001, a Romani family with two minor children was evicted from a Garay Street flat in Budapest's 7th district between the hours of 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. At a solidarity meeting held at 9:00 AM on the same day, organised by the Budapest-based Foundation for Romani Civil Rights, human rights activists and journalists were informed by police and municipal officials that the father of thefamily was supposed to be evicted on the morning in question. However, during the afternoon, authorities came with a new warrant against the whole family. Around twenty-five Romani and non-Romani activists held a peaceful protest attempting to block the eviction. Budapest's 7th district police intervened and arrested some of the protesters that evening. The demonstrators spent two hours in the district's police headquarters in detention before being released. Mr Zoltán Szabó, Mayor of Budapest's 7th district, defended the action, saying that evictions in the district would have to continue, as any other course of action would signal to squatters that they would no longer be punished.

Previously, in September 2000, the same family, together with eight other Romani families, had been evicted from Király Street in the same district. The Romani families were relocated by the 7th district mayor to Garay Street and signed an agreement to leave the flats after six months. After the end of the six-month period, a judge of the local court decided to order the eviction of one family. However, in the case of the other seven families, other judges decided to wait with the eviction warrant until the end of legal procedures.

Mr Aladár Horváth, president of the Foundation for Romani Civil Rights, reported to the ERRC on June 10, 2002, that his organisation had negotiated a settlement with Budapest's 7th district council, whereby Budapest's 7th and 8th district councils would provide a flat for the family. The family has reportedly renovated the flat with the assistance of the Foundation for Romani Civil Rights.

(ERRC, Klub Radio, Roma Press Center)


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