Hindus urge safety of Hungarian Roma
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, on Wednesday said that the Hindu community is concerned for the safety of Roma (Gypsies) in Hungary, after a Harvard University report indicated the need for measures to ensure the physical and psychological safety of the Roma and other minority groups, suggesting that 'warning signs exist'. Rajan Zed, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the report had highlighted the alarming condition of Roma in Hungary and persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against the Roma and urged the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) to act immediately. The report, titled 'Accelerating Patterns of Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary', by Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights of Harvard School of Public Health of Harvard University, released this month, calls UN, Hungarian Government and EU to "act to avoid the dangers that the Roma and other minority groups in Hungary have been exposed to in recent years".
The report talked about 'Hungary's mounting incidence of hate crimes, racist propaganda, discrimination, and exclusionary ideologies'.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that the international community should take this growing risk to Roma safety very seriously and do something concrete about it.
Continued racism, discrimination, xenophobia and violence against an already persecuted community should not be acceptable to the 21st century Europe and the world, he said.
Rajan Zed stressed that the mechanisms should be urgently developed to protect the vulnerable Roma and racist narrative like 'Gypsy crime' should be banned.
It should be an EU wide priority to integrate Roma.
Zed pointed out that in Hungary, despite various so called government initiatives, Roma reportedly continued to face blatant discrimination, shanty town living, an atmosphere of hostility, huge unemployment rate, lower life expectancy, prejudice, significantly higher school dropout rate, racism, stereotyping, school segregation, social exclusion, mistrust, human rights violations, etc.
The Harvard report stated, "Hate speech..., hate-motivated killings, stigmatization of Romani people, discriminatory practices, and social and economic exclusion were on the rise in Hungary...Roma faced blatant discrimination, violence, and insecurity on a daily basis...Implementation is the most important test in combating hate crime and racially motivated violence, and it is this very test that many states in Europe fail, particularly in regard to the Roma."
According to US Department of State Report for 2012 on Human Rights Practices in Hungary, the Roma were discriminated against in almost all fields of life, particularly in employment, education, housing, penal institutions, and access to public places, such as restaurants and bars.
(Posted on 19-02-2014)