EU and UN criticize Hungary for local treatment of Roma and border fence plans
On 16 June, politics.hu reported that EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said the Miskolc council's recent moves with respect to the housing of Romani people contravene both the EU's Roma Integration Framework Strategy and Hungary's own Roma Strategy. The Commissioner made the statement in response to a written question submitted by MEP Péter Niedermüller (Democratic Coalition) in March.
Niedermüller informed Jourova that Miskolc plans to eliminate a particular neighborhood and is offering compensation to its local residents, mostly Roma, on the condition that they move away from Miskolc entirely. After many of the affected people declined the offer, the council began cancelling their leases, citing outstanding payments as the reason.
Approximately 150 families were at risk of being forcibly evicted, according to Niedermüller. News server Romea.cz reported in May that the terms included not just leaving Miskolc, but promising not to return for five years.
On 19 June, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Cécile Pouilly issued a statement saying that her office is "deeply concerned" about Hungary's announcement that it is preparing to build a fence on its border with Serbia. Pouilly said the measure could prevent asylum seekers in need of international protection from reaching Hungarian territory.
"Such harsh border enforcement measures may also force migrants to adopt more risky routes and modes of transport, putting them at greater risk of abuse by traffickers and smugglers," Pouilly said. "We have noted in the past the need for European governments to display leadership and compassion in their migration policies."
The spokesperson also expressed concern that the Hungarian Government is officially disseminating anti-migrant, xenophobic rhetoric through a billboard campaign supposedly targeting immigrants and warning them not to take jobs away from Hungarians. "Such assertions contradict the evidence, which is that migrants – particularly low-skilled migrants - are needed in European labor markets, doing the difficult jobs that no one else wants to do. On 22 May, we publicly criticized a questionnaire on immigration sent by the Government to its citizens in which unfounded links were sought... between migration and terrorism," Pouilly said.
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- Council of Europe: Discrimination of Jews, LGBT, Roma and other minorities rising in Hungary
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- Hungary: Town offers impoverished Roma money to move away
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- World Jewish Congress advises Hungary not to erect controversial memorial
- NGO director in Czech Republic says politicians' rhetoric about "inadaptable" Roma is dangerous, some non-Roma refugees from Ukraine are reportedly aggressive toward local Roma here
- Civil society members of the Czech Govt Roma Council after meeting with PM: We submitted our proposals for solutions to the Romani refugee crisis already in March
- Slovak MEP of Romani origin Peter Pollák: It is incomprehensible that the Czech Republic is unable to help a few hundred Romani refugees from Ukraine at the Prague railway station
- Czech municipal department mayors claim they object to housing Romani refugees from Ukraine in their parts of Prague
- British newspaper The Guardian reports on the festering crisis at the main railway station in Prague, Czech Republic
- ROMEA TV produces reportage for Deutsche Welle about Romani refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic
- Number of homeless Romani refugees from Ukraine sleeping at main train station in the Czech capital seems to be decreasing for now
- Romani NGO offers Czech Interior Ministry list of places where different kinds of housing could be built for homeless Romani refugees from Ukraine
- Czech capital's "tent city" for refugees from Ukraine has seen 250 people pass through it so far
- Czech Govt Council on Roma Community Affairs establishes new team to resolve Romani refugee situation, to be led by Human Rights Commissioner
- Czech Government proposes stricter rules for temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine
- Aid to refugees from Ukraine will no longer be offered at Czech capital's main train station by close of this month, about 500 Romani refugees continue to sleep there