Hungary’s Right-Wing Inflames Ethnic Tensions

From Aljazeera >>

In a cafe in Budapest’s 8th District, known for its high population of Roma – also known as Gypsies – Hungarian activist Jeno Setét spoke about the discrimination he says his community faces on a regular basis.

He described how he and his wife, a non-Roma, were applying to live in an apartment. The owner initially thought Setét’s wife would be the only renter – but when he found out that Setét, a Roma, would also be living there, the couple was immediately told they could not take the apartment.

The Roma make up about 7 percent of Hungary’s 10 million people, and are overrepresented among the poor and unemployed.

Discrimination is said to be widespread: for instance, according to one survey, only about one-third of Hungarians would let their child be friends with a Roma child.

Although statistics are sketchy, Dezideriu Gergely, the executive director of the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre, said that “anti-Roma sentiment has been rising a lot in the last years, and this in some cases led … to violence against Roma”.

In early January 2013, a founding member of the ruling centre-right Fidesz party was accused of racism after writing a column about a bar fight on New Year’s Eve in which some of the participants were reportedly Roma.

Article by Kristina Jovanovski

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