"Freedom from hate" – MRG’s Annual Report on hate crimes across Europe

The Minority Rights Group (MRG), an international rights organization published today its Annual Report focusing on hate crimes and hate speech against minorities in European countries. State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014 presents compelling examples and case studies from Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The author of the Hungarian case study is Eszter Jovánovics, Head of the HCLU’s Roma Program.

Hate crime towards minorities is a daily reality across Europe but is often ignored by authorities, says MRG in its annual report. The report shows that asylum seekers, migrants, refugees, and long settled minority populations such as Jews, Muslims and Roma are the groups most often targeted in the region.

The Annual Report’s main findings are the following:

  • Government inaction, for example in data collection, reporting processes or publicity around cases, provides a form of legitimacy to hate.
  • The impact of the 2008 global financial crisis has translated into rising levels of violence and hate towards migrants, and ethnic and religious minorities in many countries.
  • Hate speech and hate crime can also be encouraged by discriminatory government policies.

You can read the MRG’s press release here.

Eszter Jovánovics, Head of the HCLU’s Roma Program shows in her case study (on page 175) how legislation on hate crime is misused in Hungary against the Roma minority rather than to protect them. “While the conviction, almost five years on, of four people in 2013 for the serial killing of 
six Roma in 2008 and 2009 is a welcome step in the fight against Hungary’s endemic hate crime, the community is still poorly protected against a rising wave of targeted violence.
This is reflected in the fact that the suspected perpetrators were only arrested after their eleventh attack and the subsequent trial lasted 28 months as the court had to gather much of the evidence again to address the shortcomings in the original investigations. However, many other instances of anti-Roma hate crimes are overlooked by police and do not even reach the courts.” “This is in contrast to the speed with which Roma have been accused of anti-Hungarian racist bias and brought to court.” The case study then portrays two criminal procedures in which the Roma defendants acting out of fear and anger against presumed racists were sentenced for anti-Hungarian hate crime. The study concludes by saying: “Institutionalized racism is most likely one of the main reasons for this apparent double standard in Hungary’s law enforcement. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union continues to advocate for the appropriate implementation of the hate crime provision and to address the structural discrimination within the country’s criminal justice system.”

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

"My house will be painted with your blood..."

"...and I’ll have it built on the Gypsy-row, right here!" Threats similar to these, men in masks, whips and spontoons, spitting, calling Gypsies, including children, names or racial slurs, and hatred sometimes escalating to physical violence on one side. Premature birth due to fear, terrorized children pissing in their pants, and desperate adults on the other. During these recurring acts, the majority of the Roma families temporarily fled the settlement.

They want to imprison him illegally

Orosz Béla was fined 50 thousand forints for a minor offence. In a letter sent on August 8th, he informed the police that because of his poverty, he cannot pay the fine, but would like to work off his debts through community service. He did not receive a response from the police. Two months later, the courts informed him that they will hold a hearing regarding the conversion of his fine into a prison sentence. This procedure is illegal; the judicial authorities disregarded the laws relating to offences.

HCLU Asks UN to Address Civil Society Freedom in Hungary

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has approached the authors of the UN report on the freedom of association and the situation of legal defense agencies regarding the Hungarian government's control of civil society, which breaches both national and international law. In its letter, HCLU asks the addressees to use all available means in order to stop the violation of Hungarian civil organizations' rights.