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Commissioner Hammarberg continues dialogue with Hungarian Prime Minister to eradicate intolerance and discrimination

Strasbourg, 26/11/2009 – "The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, published today a letter sent to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr Gordon Bajnai, on the fight against intolerance, discrimination and racism affecting members of minority groups, in particular Roma.

The letter follows the Commissioner's visit to Hungary last October during which he held discussions with the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Justice and Law Enforcement as well as with other representatives of national authorities, international and non-governmental organisations.

In his letter, the Commissioner reiterates his grave concern about the observed rise of extremism, intolerance and racism which has targeted in particular Roma. He is also worried by the public use of anti-Roma, hate speech by certain public figures and by the lack of strong condemnation of and effective measures for preventing similar incidents.

While welcoming some positive measures undertaken by the Hungarian government like those aimed at integrating Roma into the public sector, Commissioner Hammarberg stresses that such measures should be accompanied by activities to increase public awareness of the situation of national minorities and other communities which suffer from discrimination or intolerance, such as the Roma, the Jewish community and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people.

Finally, the Commissioner recommends the ratification by Hungary of Protocol N° 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, containing a general prohibition of discrimination, and the acceptance of the collective complaints procedure under the European Social Charter.

Read the letter
Reply by Mr Gordon Bajnai, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary
Hungarian governmental measures regarding Roma inclusion