The Court has done its job, the state needs to act

Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Centre, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities, and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union welcomed the Budapest District Court decision according to which the series of attacks against Hungarian Roma in 2008-2009 were racially motivated.

The judge stressed that no one’s rights should be violated based on their nationality or Roma ethnicity. The culprits’ past demonstrated that they had a strong aversion to Roma before committing the series of crimes. The convicts aimed to intimidate and control members of the Roma ethnic group. The court complied with international human rights standards in making a decision that punished the bias motivation behind the crimes.

Despite the above, the state still needs to act. Racially motivated attacks against Roma have continued since these serial killings. The state still doesn’t provide a sufficiently strong response to this kind of violence. It is Hungary’s international obligation to guarantee special protection against racially-motivated violence. As with previous governments, the current government has not taken the necessary steps to improve the efficiency of the authorities in these investigations.

Human rights organisations are calling on the government to prevent and counter hate crimes by taking the following steps:

-       Develop effective, systemic solutions within the police force and the prosecution;

-       Apply a criminal protocol in line with international standards;

-       Introduce special training for law enforcement;

-       Improve victim protection;

-       Build an effective data collection and statistical monitoring system.

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