Shadow Report about the Events at Gyöngyöspata
The HCLU finds the factual documentation of the events requisite because, even though, based on the title and the preamble of the establishing resolution, the objective of the Committee is to explore the background of uniformed criminality and to advance its elimination; five (!) out of nine objectives of the Committee is to investigate the “trip”, organised by the Red Cross for the Roma, and the role of the American business man, Richard Field. The Resolution prejudicates in the style of the show trials of the 1950s when it states, amongst other things, that: “The Committee’s objective is to find out who and why stated it untruthfully that the trip, that had been organised by the Red Cross since long, was an evacuation of the Roma of Gyöngyöspata from the scene, what the motive and purpose of this scaremongering was”.
According to the HCLU the Committee’s task concerning the actions of the Red Cross should only be to elucidate whether the local Roma population had a legitimate reason to be afraid and to flee. However, the Resolution openly decides this question in advance whilst it contradicts itself by acknowledging that during that time uniformed and illegal vigilante groups were present at the settlement in Heves County who organised policing actions illegally and showed a highly hostile demeanour towards the Roma ethnic minority.
Beyond presenting the facts that underpin the fears of the Roma and the responsibility of extremist organisations, it is absolutely essential to evaluate the reactions of the government, the shortcomings of the law enforcement agencies and the actions taken by the police; because maintaining public order and public security (both mentioned by the Resolution) is the responsibility of the government. Based on the events and statements presented in the Shadow Report, it is utterly obvious that the government did not react in due time because of deliberate political considerations and not for the lack of applicable laws. According to the standpoint of the HCLU, the leaders of the police force and the leaders of the Ministry of Interior have a constitutional responsibility for the negligence and idleness of the police.
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Our colleagues were regularly present at Gyöngyöspata, thus they were there when Richard Field visited the settlement on the Tuesday before Easter (April 19). Seeing the severity of the situation and listening to the requests of the Roma, that they wanted to flee, he asked for the help of the Red Cross. The facts collected in the Shadow Report and in our documentary are based on our own fieldwork and on the reports of the media. These pieces of information clearly confirm the validity of the sense of fear that led to the evacuation of the Roma women and children from Gyöngyöspata on Easter weekend.
Furthermore, our crew recorded interviews with the transported Roma women and local Roma leaders who all stated unanimously that they had to leave the settlement because of the boot camp of the Véderő (Defence Force). The fact that the Roma traditionally spend and celebrate Easter at home with their families and not go on holidays leaving the men behind also contradicts the “they were taken on a trip” theory.
When one reads the whole resolution, it becomes clear that the objective of the Committee sadly is not to find out what really happened and who were responsible for the injustices that happened to the Roma, but to find out what kind of conspiracy of inside and outside enemies of the nation is responsible for the alleged scaremongering and discrediting of Hungary before the international community. “The objective of the Committee is to find out whose interest it is in to paint an unfounded picture in the international media of civil war in Hungary. Furthermore, to discover who and why gave false information that gratuitously shed a bad light on Hungary, thus discrediting our country in front of the international public opinion.”
Since we were regularly present and we have publicised our legal opinion several times, we find it essential to give a detailed elaboration of our stance. We were also requested by Máté Kocsis, Chairman of the ad hoc Committee, to do so. As our legal standpoint had already been expounded, the Shadow Report concentrates on the events and facts and evaluates them.