The 2/3 majority Hungarian Parliament, with a resolution published on June 7, set up an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the events in Gyöngyöspata. Despite the fact that based on the title and preamble of the resolution, the task of the committee is to investigate the background of criminal activity by uniformed personnel and to assist in eliminating it, out of the nine tasks listed by the resolution five (!) are concerned with the evacuation of the Roma by the Red Cross and the role of Richard Field. The resolution – recalling the documents of the staged trials of the 1950s – is prejudiced when, among others, it states: “establishing who and why claimed untruthfully with regard to the long-existing activities of the Red Cross that the evacuation of the Romas from the scene was taking place, what was the reason and objective for this causing of panic”.
In Gyöngyöspata, Hungary, ever since March 2011 extremist anti-Roma groups – pretending to be militiamen and vindicating the right to maintain public order – have started a systematic campaign of intimidation against the Roma. For weeks they illegally patrolled the village and provoked the Roma adults and children. The government and the police have contributed to the escalation of the situation by their inaction. You can read our news about this here.
In April, one of the paramilitary organizations (Véderő - Garrison) announced a military boot camp for the weekend of Easter at the plot near the Roma neighborhood. On the initiative of the local Roma – who have been terrified for weeks -, and with the co-operation of Richard Field, an American businessman, the Red Cross evacuated the Roma women and children from the village for that weekend. The Prime Minister only condemned the activity of the extremists in public after the international outrage caused by the events. At the same time, the government still wished to present the evacuation as a long-organized vacation. Read our related news here.
The colleagues of the HCLU have been present on a regular basis in Gyöngyöspata ever since the beginning of the events. Thus they were there when on the Tuesday before Easter (April 19) Richard Field was there and having seen the gravity of the situation and having heard the Roma’s pleas for escape, he asked for the assistance of the Red Cross. Our colleagues interviewed some evacuated Roma women and the local leaders of the Roma and they all unanimously claimed that they had to leave the village because of the boot camp of the Garrison. Therefore it was not at all “a long-organized action” or vacationing.
Reading through the resolution, it is clear that the committee’s mandate is not to explore what indeed has happened, and who are responsible for the aggrievements of the Roma population, but to investigate what conspiracy of foreign and domestic enemies of the nation is responsible for what has happened according to the government (another quote from the resolution: “establishing whose it interests it serves that the international press presents an untruthful, civil war-like situation in Hungary, and who, and for what reason, provide mistaken information that presents Hungary in an unreasonably bad light, thus humiliating our country in the eyes of the international public opinion”).
It is thus predetermined what the final report of the committee – set up with a president and the majority of members appointed by the parliamentary majority – will contain. The responsibility of the government – which, by the way, held the current Presidency of the European Union at the time of the events and as such, made it a priority to develop the common EU Roma strategy – cannot be expected to be examined from this committee.
You can read the English version of the entire resolution here