Absurd Fines Imposed against Hungary's Roma

Hungary’s National Police force has been accused of discrimination in targeting Roma citizens for trivial fines. NGOs have sent a letter to the police commissioner, who denies the allegations, asking for a working group to study the problem.

Six Hungarian NGOs have addressed the chief commissioner of Hungary’s National Police in a letter requesting the investigation of the discriminatory practice of fines targeting Roma people. The police chief has thus far refused to cooperate with the NGOs.

Disproportionate and extreme fines

The organizations that sent the letter, including HCLU, continue to receive complaints from citizens of Roma origins concerning their subjection to disproportionate and extreme fining practices by police officers. Cases collected by the Roma Press Center have recently gained publicity.

According to the complaints that have found their way to the civil society organizations, police officers have explicitly targeted Roma people in many communities, fining them for trivial misdemeanor charges, typically related to traffic violations and mostly concerning bicycle transportation, which the non-Roma population, although equally liable for such infringements, are often not fined for.

Ethnic profiling

According to the NGOs, this practice is ethnic profiling and violates the right to equal treatment of the Roma citizens being targeted.

The police chief claims that ethnic profiling is not applied in fining practices, and therefore refuses to cooperate with the NGOs in setting up a working group. In a subsequent letter, the NGOs reacted one by one to each argument made by the police chief to refute the charge of discriminatory fining.

The NGOs keep urging the police chief not to reject the idea of establishing a working group in order to improve fining practices and respect for the right of equal treatment. After all, the point of the cooperation between the police and civil society is precisely to investigate and discuss problematic cases in a factual manner.

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

It’s the court’s turn to step up against racism

The Chamber of Judge Miszori has a difficult task. On August 6, it will announce its first instance judgment in a criminal procedure against the four suspects who were accused of carrying out a series of racist murders in 2008 and 2009 against Hungarian Roma.

HCLU vs. Police: the trial of discrimination against Roma

On June 13, 2013 the trial of the actio popularis against the Heves County Police begins at the County Court of Eger. The lawsuit was initiated by the HCLU against the Police for discriminating against the Roma in Gyöngyöspata based on their ethnicity and skin color during and following the extremist “patrols” of 2011. At stake: will the court hold the state responsible for the discriminative treatment of the Roma?

Pathetic Trial on Disbanding of Militiamen

Definite uneasiness can be felt on the third day of the trial on whether or not to disband the Militiamen Association for a Better Future (MABF), a group responsible for marching and causing fear during the spring of 2011, in the small Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata. The presiding judge, Erika Mucsi is uncertain of the difference between the MABF and the Roma Civil Rights Movement (RCRM), but this isn’t the greatest cause for alarm. Instead of disbanding the group responsible for systematic racial misconduct, she studies the correlation between structural unemployment and crime committed in order to provide food and heating. The HCLU reports on the trial - the mood and the spirit of the trial was completely absurd, as if it had nothing to do with the events in Gyöngyöspata.