Friday, September 03, 2010

Hungary / Roma

Far-Right Party Calls for Camps for Hungary's Roma
By Daniel McLaughlin
The Irish Times, September 3, 2010
Photo: "A supporter of Jobbik at a rally in Budapest last year." (Laszla Balogh/Reuters)
"Hungary's far-right Jobbik party has called for 'anti-social' members of the Roma community to be forced from their homes and placed in special guarded camps, as France comes under increasing scrutiny over its drive to send gypsies back to the Balkans. Jobbik's claim that Hungary’s large Roma minority is riddled with criminals and benefit fraudsters has struck a chord with many people. Since last June the party has won its first three seats in the European Parliament and secured third place in a general election with almost 17 per cent of votes. It is now campaigning hard for next month’s local elections and hopes to prevent the ruling conservative Fidesz party taking control of several councils, particularly in poor regions where unemployment is high, crime is a major problem and the Roma community is large. Jobbik leader Gabor Vona said his was the only party brave enough to 'face realities and have the guts to say what ... 90 per cent of the Hungarian population say during their family lunch on Sundays, namely that the integration of the Roma population has failed. We need entirely different solutions if we want to avoid civil war in the country,' he added.
While Mr. Vona proposed the compulsory education of Roma children in boarding schools to get them away from a disruptive environment at home, Jobbik MEP Csanad Szegedi advocated the creation of special 'public order zones' for gypsies deemed to be antisocial. 'We would force these families out of their dwellings. Then, yes, we would transport these families to public order protection camps,' Mr. Szegedi said. 'At these camps, there would be a chance to return to civilised society. Those who abandon crime, make sure their children attend school and participate in public works programmes, they can reintegrate,' he added. 'No doubt there will be people who show no improvement. They can spend the rest of their lives in these camps.' Mr. Szegedi said the camps would be established 'in accordance with all laws' and inmates would have to request permission to leave the premises and observe a 10pm curfew. Jobbik unveiled its initiative, which was criticised by the Fidesz government and other opposition parties, at a time when France is being widely castigated for deporting hundreds of gypsies to their native Romania. The European Commission has asked France to prove that the expulsions do not breach EU rules."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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