Council of Europe’s report slams Hungary, Poland on racism

Council of Europe reports racism, discrimination and hate speech in Hungary and Poland

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the human rights monitoring body of the Council of Europe, published a report today covering the existence of racism, radicalism, and hate speech found across a number of European Union countries.

The ECRI’s report opens a subtitle especially for Hungary, mentioning its far-right political party JOBBIK, which is the third largest party in the General Assembly.

The ECRI recorded that in 2013 Hungary’s political parties used hate speech, calling a significant portion of the country’s Roma community “animals” that “should not exist.”

The report also recommended that Hungary ratifies the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems.

The ECRI also reported that Hungary breached the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Protocol by denying the “right to education” and failing to implement the “prohibition of discrimination,” claiming that children from the Roma community had been wrongly placed in a school for the mentally disabled.

In February 2014, a JOBBIK politician speaking at a public event referred to the Holocaust as the “Holoscam.” Research conducted at the Central European University showed that the proportion of respondents expressing anti-Jewish views shot up from 10 to 28 percent in 2010 (the year JOBBIK first won seats in Parliament) and has never fallen below 20 percent since then, the ECRI reported.

The ECRI has been informed that around 22 percent of all asylum seekers are now deprived of their liberty. A small number are placed in immigration detention centres (for irregular migrants and those awaiting deportation), but the majority are sent to asylum detention facilities.

Very worryingly, this includes asylum seeking families with children.

Muslim community targeted in Poland

Regarding Poland, hate speech on the internet has reportedly found a new target in the Muslim community, while self-regulatory bodies have faced difficulty in applying appropriate sanctions against persistent offenders.

The report also recalls that in August 2011, a fire was started at the entrance to a Muslim cultural centre.

In September 2009, November 2012 and April 2013, attempts were made to set fire to the doors of Chechen families’ homes. On 8 May 2013, unidentified persons tried to set fire to a flat where a Polish family of Indian origin were living.

The last five years has seen organised marches in which tens of thousands participated degenerate into violence by conservatives who claim to be standing up for traditional Polish values and oppose abortion, same-sex marriages and strong attachment to the Catholic Church.

Despite the initiatives taken by the prosecutor general to deal more effectively with racism, the results are yet to be seen, says the report.

TRTWorld and agencies