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November 16, 2018
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BBC Three Documentary Exposes Human Rights Abuses In Hungary’s State-Care Homes

21.4.2018 10:40
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (PHOTO: European People's Party - EPP,
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (PHOTO: European People's Party - EPP,

In a new special on BBC Three, Stacey Dooley investigates the Roma situation in Hungary, exposing the abuse committed by state-run care homes into which Romani children are being placed. The state repeatedly removes Romani children from their homes because their families are too poor to care for them.

The children are placed into the state care system by local authorities, ostensibly to give them a better life, but the care homes the children are being placed into are riddled with horror stories. Dooley traveled to the poorest parts of Hungary to iflm the special, meeting with Romani mothers and talking to a few workers in the state homes to discuss the situation.

The homes are riddled with drugs, there is molestation among the children, and many young girls in the homes turn to prostitution to earn money. Zsanett, a Romani mother, said in her interview that: “The children are in worse situations than their mothers.”

Mothers are becoming heartbroken as their children are being taken away and forced to live in these atrocious conditions. Hungary’s Jobbik Party, also known as the Movement for a Better Hungary Party, has a history of overt discrimination against Roma people, and is very popular amongst younger voters.

The discrimination against all who are not considered Hungarian is only growing as support for the far-right and nationalist movement grows as well. In addition to neglecting these state care homes, the Government has also been stoking a great deal of xenophobic sentiment in Hungary. reached out to the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre to comment on this issue. Spokesperson Jonathan Lee said:  “The documentary shows a previously suspected, but historically undocumented level of abuse of Romani children in state care in Hungary. The ERRC have called out Hungary for its overrepresentation of Romani children in the state care system for a while now, and have several cases involving Romani children in the system as well as our recent report on the issue: Roma families are often targeted on an ethnic basis and their children are unfairly taken away from their families for reasons of racial discrimination or poverty, both of which are illegal under Hungarian and international laws. The abuse of Romani children in state care is not limited to Hungary. The ERRC have also documented and/or litigated cases in the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania.”

Laila El Agizy
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