Our Roma program was recognized for its work with the Roma of Gyöngyöspata. HCLU provided crucial assistance to the Roma when the police failed to intervene for two months to stop the far-right, paramilitary groups, who were patrolling the town of Gyöngyöspata, from intimidating the Roma in what could be best described as a near civil-war situation. HCLU filed an actio popularis case against the police for violating the law on equal treatment by neglecting to intervene and discriminating in issuing fines for misdemeanors. The trial is still in process.
The foundation of Erste Bank, established in 1819 as the first savings bank of Austria, awarded for the fourth time civil society organizations working towards strengthening social integration. 1998 organizations applied from 13 countries. The jury recognized 35 of them and awarded them 180 million HUF in total. Most applications came from Hungary while eight of the 35 recognized were Hungarian, making Hungary the best performing nation in this regard. (This raises a question, however: is this a story of great need for integration or are Hungarian civic groups this talented?) Along with prizes for the top three in the various categories (the Hungarian Káva Theatre won a third place prize), four organizations, including HCLU, received special awards as HCLU was given 16,000 EUR.
Erste Foundation hosted more than a hundred civil society organizations in Vienna with two days of events that included a gala where the awards were announced. Eszter Jovánovics,
HCLU’s head of the Roma Program, accepted the award.
Our team continues to battle. (Indeed, this government is still ruling.) Violations of the law, limiting individual rights and a bleeding rule of law mean constant challenges for the staff and lawyers at HCLU. But it is nice to see others appreciate this work.