Roma in Hungary hold sit-in

11 July 2000

According to Hungarian media, Roma in the village of Sajólád, in northeast Hungary, held a four day sit-in protesting the social policy of the local government of Sajólád. The sit-in began on March 27, following a decision by the local government of Sajólád not to provide social benefits to people who do not cultivate their fields. On this basis, they refused to provide benefits for the approximately 150 unemployed Roma in the village, including Mr Csaba Vass, a blind old man with diabetes. The Foundation for Romani Civil Rights negotiated with the county's employment office on behalf of the strikers and additionally assisted the Roma in filing a complaint against the municipality. The office agreed to provide public work for at least thirty people for two months. The local government promised to conduct research on poverty among the local Roma and to prepare a social plan for them. Other sources also helped the strikers: President Árpád Göncz sent food parcels and several foundations assisted the Roma in renting a tractor and provided them with seed. The Budapest-based non-governmental organisation Roma Press Center reported on March 30, 2000, that the Roma had suspended the sit-in.

(Roma Press Center)


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