ECRI made the new country report on Hungary

Hungary: despite positive developments, concerns remain, such as racist violence and the openly anti-Roma, antisemitic, homophobic and xenophobic hate speech of a radical right-wing populist party, says the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fifth report on Hungary analysing new developments and outstanding issues, and providing recommendations to the authorities.

“There are positive developments, such as the amendment to the Act on the National Assembly allowing members of Parliament to be fined or excluded from proceedings for expressions offending the dignity of any national, ethnic, racial or religious community, but concerns remain, among others the deprivation of liberty of some asylum seekers, including families with children,” said ECRI’s Chair, Christian Ahlund.

On the positive side, the report notes that the Act on Equal Treatment and Promotion of Equal Opportunities is a good instrument and that the Equal Treatment Authority has the structure and powers of an effective national specialised body. Hungary’s Criminal Code provisions on incitement to hatred and violence against a community as well as its non-discrimination legislation contain explicit references to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Migration Strategy (2014 to 2020) has a chapter on integration of long-term residents and beneficiaries of international protection with a focus on promoting a shift towards multiculturalism.

Furthermore, following the “Roma murders” in 2008-2009, a specialised unit was set up in the police on hate crime and training sessions have been organised with the help of NGOs.

On the other hand, Hungary’s National Social Inclusion Strategy has had little impact so far and it does not address segregation in education. The disproportionate numbers of Roma children placed in schools for pupils with learning disabilities persists. There continues to be a shortage of social housing and Roma are often forced out in order for apartments or land to be sold at a profit. Refugees face many problems, notably homelessness.

ECRI has made several recommendations to the authorities. The following two require prompt implementation and will be reviewed by ECRI in two years’ time:

  • accommodate asylum seekers, in particular families with children, in open reception facilities;
  • take action in all cases where local authorities attempt to force Roma out of social housing, evict them from their homes without ensuring suitable alternatives or subject them to directly or indirectly discriminatory rules in respect of housing.

The report, including Government observations, is available here. It was prepared following ECRI’s visit to Hungary in June 2014 and takes account of developments up to 2014.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

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