News / Europe

    Murder Convictions Highlight Roma Discrimination in Europe

    Murder Convictions Highlight Roma Discrimination in Europeli
    X
    August 07, 2013 1:38 AM
    A court in Hungary has sentenced three men to life in prison and another for 13 years in jail for a series of killings targeting the Roma population. Advocacy groups say violence, intimidation and discrimination are experienced daily by the Roma - and not just in their historic homelands in eastern Europe. Henry Ridgwell has this report from London.
    Henry Ridgwell
    A court in Hungary has jailed three men for life and a fourth for 13 years for a series of killings targeting the Roma population. Advocacy groups say violence, intimidation and discrimination are experienced daily by the Roma — and not just in their historic homelands in Eastern Europe.

    The four convicted men were part of a gang that carried out attacks over 13 months in 2008 and 2009, killing six people and leaving Hungary’s Roma population terrified.

    In one attack in the village of Tatarszentgyorgy, the gang set fire to a house before opening fire on the occupants. Robert Csorba and his 4-year-old son were killed and a girl seriously wounded.

    Robert’s mother Erzsebet Csorba welcomed the court verdict — but said she had no faith that the case would deliver wider justice for the Roma.

    "I can't say it's easier now, it's more difficult. It might be harder for us,  because of all the heartache that made us numb to life," said Csorba.

    For Amnesty International's Barbora Cernusakova, Hungary’s criminal justice system is failing the Roma.

    “The police don’t really have guidelines on how to deal with hate crimes, and lack general guidelines on how to deal with this specific type of crimes," said Cernusakova. "And also it lacks expertise."

    In 2009, human rights groups tried to use the Csorbas funerals to encourage understanding between Roma and other Hungarians.

    But four years on little has changed, says Szilvia Varro from the advocacy group Communication Center X.

    "Hungarian society is very fragmented and broken into two parts," said Varro. "There are our dead and their dead, there is our memory and your memory, and it's very rare to bridge that division."

    Roma have lived in Hungary and its neighboring countries for centuries. Support groups say the fall of communism — and more recently the global financial crisis — hit the Roma disproportionately hard.

    Meanwhile, Amnesty's Cernusakova says anti-Roma political parties like Jobbik are on the rise.

     “There were many allegations in the past that Jobbik was actually using Roma and other groups as scapegoats for the general feeling of discomfort due to the economic crisis," she said.

    Cernusakova says Roma also suffer discrimination in access to education and healthcare.

     “Discrimination cuts throughout their lives and affects them from early childhood pretty much until the end of their lives," she said. "It’s one of the biggest communities in Europe that is discriminated [against] in this way. It’s also not only a problem of Eastern Europe, especially after the expulsions from France and the eviction of camps in Italy."

    Starting in January 2014, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens — including ethnic Roma — will be permitted free movement within Europe's labor market. The European Union has called on member states to do more to integrate Europe's 12-million-strong Roma population.

    But advocacy groups say it’s time the EU took punitive measures against countries they accuse of continued discrimination.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Janardhan Pathania from: Jammu, INDIA.
    August 19, 2013 6:04 AM
    When the law says, a Tooth for a Tooth and an Eye for an Eye, then why not Death for a Death ???
    The low punishment is also an encouragement to the Crime !!!

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    August 07, 2013 8:27 PM
    I did not know much about Roma as much as gipsy is included in them at best. I learned online that Roma has went through a similar destiny of the past Jews as having no homeland and suffered holocaust during the WWII. They includes various thribes and religions, so it would be harder to settle in a definate land.

    It is unfortunate that those communism countries which accepted them to settle and get jobs fell down. If we fail to secure their human rights and could not help them stand at their own foot economically, it could be said that democrasy and capitalism are inferior to socialism !? Thank you.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.