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AI: Hungary must do more to protect Roma communities

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Wednesday urged [press release] the government of Hungary to protect the nation's Roma communities [AI backgrounder] from attacks. On August 5, violence erupted in the Hungarian village of Devecser when more than a thousand people gathered in the village square in a demonstration organized by the far-right Hungarian party Jobbik [party website, in Hungarian]. Several demonstrators chanted anti-Roma slogans and threw objects at Roma houses. According to AI, the police did nothing to stop the violence or arrest any demonstrators. In the press release, Jezerca Tigani, AI's Europe and Central Asia Deputy Program Director, called on the Hungarian government to condemn and investigate violence against Roma:

Discriminatory violence, and incitement to discriminatory violence, against any section of Hungarian society should be publicly condemned and all acts of racially motivated harassment and violence thoroughly investigated.
Tigani also asserted that the police failed their obligation to protect citizens from violence.

Roma [JURIST news archive] continue to be targets of discrimination in Europe. Two weeks ago the UN urged the international community to end discrimination against Roma [JURIST report]. In May the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] implored the government of Moldova to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law [JURIST report] that protects, amongst other groups, the Roma people. In April Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called on the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop discriminating against Roma [JURIST report]. In October the OHCHR called on authorities [JURIST report] to end the hate speech and discrimination [press release] against the Roma migrants in Bulgaria. Last April AI urged Serbian authorities to halt the forced evictions [JURIST report] of Roma in Belgrade and provide them with adequate housing and compensation. In March 2011 AI released a report [JURIST report] documenting discrimination and human rights violations against Roma migrants in Slovenia and urging the Slovenian government to protect Roma communities. The report revealed that Roma communities are being denied access to housing, water and sanitation. Much of the Roma population is living in overcrowded shacks without access to adequate health care services, schools, shops and employment.

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