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Right-wing vigilantes take over Roma neighbourhood
<P>On March 1st, uniformed members of the vigilante group Civil Guard (Szebb
Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület), an offshoot of the dreaded Magyar Garda, took
<a href =”http://radicsbela.blogspot.com/"> control</a> of a Romani neighbourhood in the village of Gyöngyöspata. They
set up two checkpoints at the entrance to the neighbourhood and formed a
human chain around the houses of Romani residents. The Civil Guard are
supported by the right-wing Jobbik party, and now intend to set up chapters
in other towns in Hungary, to expand their patrols.
<p>The European Roma Rights Centre, Amnesty International and Human Rights
First sent a
<a href="http://www.errc.org/cms/upload/file/hungary-gy%C3%B6ngy%C3%B6spata-letter-march-2011.pdf">letter [PDF]</a> urging
Hungarian authorities to intervene and protect the Romani residents
of Gyöngyöspata from the intimidation and harassment they have been
subjected to by the vigilante organisation, Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület
(Civil Guard Association for a Better Future), since 1 March.
The Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület patrols have been supported by the
far-right political party Jobbik, which organised a march of thousands
through the village in black military uniform on 6 March. According to the
there were at least 48 <a href=”http://www.idebate.org/roma/2011/03/17/the-roma-in-gyongyospata/“>attacks</a> against Roma in Hungary between 2008 and
2010, which resulted in at least 9 deaths. The presence of
anti-Roma vigilante groups in Roma neighbourhoods adds to growing
inter-ethnic tensions and fuels a climate of violence.
The ERRC called for Hungarian authorities to fulfil their domestic
and international human rights obligations in Gyöngyöspata, to intervene
immediately to ensure the situation does not escalate into physical violence
and to protect the Roma from intimidation and harassment.
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