Hungary made progress in fight against racism, says UN special rapporteur

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Címkék:  Githu Muigai, UN
 27th of May 2011   Source: MTI

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Hungary made significant progress in the fight against racism and intolerance over the past ten years but there are still many tasks ahead to put international obligations to practice, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism Githu Muigai said on Friday.


Muigai said Hungary had made key steps in legislation and implementation and he expressed satisfaction about the openness that Hungary's government had demonstrated in connection with Roma inclusion.


The UN rapporteur said members of the Roma minority also bear responsibility for their future and they, too, should take action. Parents must make sure that children go to school because the government will not be able to do that for them, he added.


Muigai has been in Hungary since Monday and he has held talks with representatives of civil organisations, police and political parties, as well as government officials, mayors and civilians.


He told MTI that his visits are not targeted at countries where the UN believes "things are not going well" but their purpose is to understand problems, collect experiences and good examples that can be utilised at other locations and continue dialogue about human rigts. Muigai said his predecessor had visited Hungary ten years ago and the country has done significant efforts to fulfil UN expert proposals and make progress in handling national and ethnic minority issues.


The rapporteur expressed appreciation of the development Hungary has made in Roma affairs. A scheme entitled the decade of Roma inclusion, the creation of a European Roma strategy and the fact that the government is planning to increase the proportion of Roma within the police force and make improvements with police acting in a multicultural environment demonstrate that, he added.


He criticised, however, the disparity between declarations to fulfil international obligations to protect national and ethnic minorities and practices pursued at the level of counties and villages.


Hungary does not demonstrate a sufficiently open attitude with immigrants and those applying for refugee status, Muigai said and suggested that the government should review current regulations on assessing refugee applications.


He said Hungary had to work hard to further improve the employment, education and accommodation problems of the Roma minority and this required not only political dedication but also financial sacrifices. Every available means must be put in use to improve the education of the Roma, he added.


Another area where immediate action is necessary is the fight against anti-Semitism in Hungarian society, Muigai said.


The number of political parties and movements pursuing extremist views has increased in Hungary and some of them are characterised by a racist approach, he said. He added that he was convinced about Hungary's dedication to ensuring the plurality of opinions but racists and ethnic incitement must not be tolerated.


The United Nations established the post of Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in 1993. Muigai, a lawyer and Associate Professor at the University of Nairobi, fulfils the post since August 2008.


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