"...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.
Through personal accounts, our film presents what happened in the first half of March 2011 in Gyöngyöspata, how the local Roma community experienced the “patrolling” of uniformed fake guardians of the law, their harassing presence, and racist remarks, over many days.
For English subtitles: start the video and click on the "cc" button! In the three cases quoted in the film, the HCLU’s attorneys filed charges in the name of the plaintiffs for crimes against members of a community and other crimes.
The Roma people speaking in this video claim that the police did not protect them against these atrocities (the complaints against the police refer to the period before riot control forces from Budapest and Miskolc were ordered to the village). They reported the illegal atrocities committed against them in vain, because local police refused to deal with the complaints of the Roma, while being visibly accomodating with the uniformed men and women committing these fear-inducing acts. The HCLU urges disciplinary action against the policemen who failed to take action and start proceedings.
Due to the fact that the persons claiming to be militia were allowed into a school and because of the principal’s remark which we can hear in the film and which terrified the children (“There will be blood!”), the HCLU turns to the maintainer of the school first.
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?
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 would help them gain insight into local decision-making processes. By having access to data of public interest and exercising participatory rights, their situation can be improved so they can reach the social level of the less underprivileged majority.
Sátoraljaújhely, Hungary; on May 18, 2010. We visited the temporary quarters of those who had been evacuated due to the flood. Many of them have complained that the ’Hungarians’ did not help the Gypsies during the defense against the flood.