As Minority Ombudsman, I am concerned that in recent days, the occurrence of a previous tragic crime has been used repeatedly by some organisations to publish content on various social media platforms that clearly incites hatred against Roma citizens living in our country. The same organisations have also announced a demonstration that could be used to violate the human dignity of members of the Roma community and to create fear in them.
Every year on 2 August, on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Roma Holocaust, we should remember and remind each other of the immeasurable hardships and pain suffered by our fellow Roma citizens during one of the darkest chapters in human history.
On 7 July 1993, the National Assembly adopted the Act LXXVII of 1993 on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities. The wide-ranging rights granted by the legislator have created an exemplary system of legal protection in Hungary, the defining feature of which is the system of minority self-government, which serves to preserve the self-identity, language, culture, spiritual and material traditions of minority communities and provides them with extensive self-government and cultural autonomy.
The fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit our country with great force, posing a new challenge for our socially vulnerable, disadvantaged fellow citizens, among them many Roma people. As the Deputy Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Nationalities in Hungary, I would like to draw attention to the fact that the competent state and local government bodies have a duty to take effective and targeted action, while individuals can contribute to the rapid resolution of the critical situation by assuming responsibility towards each other, especially by taking up vaccination.
As Minority Ombudsman, I consider it my duty to commemorate the pivotal events in the history of the national minority communities living in our country. Every year it is my sad duty on the International Roma Holocaust Memorial Day to pay tribute to half a million Roma victims in Europe, including tens of thousands in Hungary.
In addition to the Hungarian and universal values of Roma culture and the opportunities opened for the future generations, Minority Ombudsman Professor Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay pointed out on the occasion of the International Roma Day that during the coronavirus pandemic, deprived Roma families, living in difficult conditions in some regions of Hungary, face extreme challenges and need help regardless of the current emergency situation.
On February 23, 2009, exactly eleven years ago, twenty-seven-year-old Róbert Csorba and his four-and-a-half-year-old son were shot by a cold blooded murderer in the yard of their home. The only crime of the victims was that they were born Roma.
Elizabeth Sándor-Szalay Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights contacted the Secretary of State for Culture at the Ministry of Human Capacities and asked for a comprehensive investigation into the “Gumiszoba” program block of the Ship Logbook program launched by the Petofi Literary Museum. The Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities also decided to open a full investigation into the case, in which she also contacted the President of the National Media and Communications Authority.
As the Minority Ombudsman, I have been following the issue of the school segregation of Roma children in Gyöngyöspata in the recent years. In 2011, the Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights uncovered the unlawful segregation of Roma students at the Gyöngyöspata school, and this investigation was also heavily relied upon in subsequent court decisions. The findings and initiatives of the study also contributed to the successful implementation of desegregation processes initiated locally and in other communities facing similar problems.