“He even kicked the bike”

We have presented similar stories on our blog many times. So it was not a one-time occurence, that’s for sure. At least not in Heves or Borsod county. What we’re talking about here, is that some policemen take pleasure in fining very poor people, who are mostly Romas, for breaking bicycle rules, all the time. Who they fine and how much they fine them for depends on the policeman’s discrimination and mood, rather than the bicycle laws. The man in this video lives in Eger.

For English subtitles: start the video and click on the "cc" button!

Most people hardly hear or know anything about the living conditions and everyday concerns of the Roma population living in extreme poverty, often in segregated settlements.

During their visits in North-Eastern Hungary, our colleagues interview locals about the issues they are currently most concerned with. The aim of our new series entitled “Make Your Voice Seen” is to deliver the messages of these people to a broader public.

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

Now I ask the questions, and they answer

The aim of the Make your voice heard! project of the HCLU is to facilitate advocacy skills of Roma communities. Therefore, the HCLU trains Romani activists in freedom of information and in participatory rights. This obtained knowledge will help them gain insight into local decision-making processes. By having access to data of public interest and exercising participatory rights, their situation will improve so they can reach the social level of the less underprivileged majority.

The horse-dealing policeman

József was fined for 30.000 forints for a minor offence. He did not pay, because he had nothing to pay with. 3-4 days later, a policaman came, and told him that if he does not pay the fine, he has to go to prison. József then called to his neighbor, to tell him his horse was for sale. The policeman told him he shouldn’t sell the horse to the neighbor, and brought over his own friend, who was there in 10 minutes and took the horse worth 100 thousand for 30.500.

Discriminatory fines for motoring offences

In Borsod county in Hungary, Romas (who live in poverty and segregation) on bicycles are fined daily for motoring offences. They are regularly penalized for offences that they haven’t committed, alongside fines for petty offences, such as lack of lamps in broad daylight. The imposed fines are disproportionately high, and extremely difficult to repay. Due to the lack of information, the capacity for legal redress is very low in these peripheral communities. The word of a Roma man against a policeman’s is generally not taken seriously in these courts; penalized people are not able to defend themselves against such infringements on their rights. Does it make sense for the police force to spend tax-payers’ money and allocate its own resources for an undue and unnecessary penalization activity? Is it beneficial for our society to unduly penalize and criminalize the already underprivileged?