Discrimination of Roma still a problem in Hungary – EC report

Budapest, September 22 (MTI) – Despite strenuous efforts Hungary has made over the past few years to enhance legal protection for its minorities, the country’s Roma population still faces discrimination, the European Council said in a report published on Wednesday.

There have been reported cases of inappropriate police behaviour as well as manifestations with racist motives against the Roma community, the document said.

    It acknowleges the steps Hungary has taken to broaden anti-discrimination legislation and the fact that its Equal Opportunities Authority has moved to build in sanctions against disriminatory practices.

    ”Considering the atmoshere of intolerance which exists in some parts  of Hungarian society, the Council calls on the authorities to actively take steps in the interest of improving cross-cultural dialogue and to fight all forms of intolerance, including those present in the media and political rhetoric,” the report said.

    The European Council recommends a review of Hungary’s legal sanctions against racist and hate speech while observing the freedom of opinion, the report said.

    It mentions that the Hungarian authorities have launched an impressive action plan to improve the Roma population’s situation in connection with housing, employment, health and education, but it adds that more has to be done, especially in the area of education.

    Further, it urges the establishment of representation for national minorities in Hungarian parliament.