Hungary: Situation and treatment of Roma, including ability to access housing, employment, education, and healthcare; state protection; impact of COVID-19 (2019–July 2021) [HUN200705.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Overview

According to Freedom House, Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Hungary (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4). According to a 2018 update of Hungary's National Social Inclusion Strategy (NSIS) for the years 2011–2020 [1], Hungary's 2011 census states that 316,000 people self-identified as Roma (Hungary 4 July 2018, 25). According to an April 2020 report by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), a Brussels-based organization dedicated to challenging Roma discrimination and advocating for their equal rights (ERRC n.d.), there are 800,000 Roma in Hungary, accounting for 8 percent of the population (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 5). Minority Rights Group International (MRG) reports that unofficial estimates of the Roma population range from 250,000 to 800,000 (MRG Jan. 2018).

According to MRG, half of the total Roma population live in urban areas, and a large portion of Roma reside in the counties of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, "where they number more than 13.5 per cent of the total population" (MRG Jan. 2018).

The updated NSIS states that "[m]ore than" 60 percent of Roma reside in the countryside, rural areas, "mostly segregated", and "in very poor housing conditions" (Hungary 4 July 2018, 27). The same source notes that population declined in the "least developed" region of northern and southwestern Hungary, while the population in central Hungary increased, which contributed to a change in "ethnic proportions" in these regions (Hungary 4 July 2018, 37).

2. Treatment of Roma
2.1 Treatment by Society

Sources report that Roma face "widespread" discrimination (HRW 13 Jan. 2021, 312; Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4). Sources indicate that Roma communities also face poverty (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 4) as well as "societal exclusion" (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4) or "segregation" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 4). A March 2021 report on Roma in Hungary [2] by Minority Rights Group Europe (MRGE) and Idetartozunk Association (Idetartozunk Egyesület), an organization dedicated to Roma emancipation and self-organization, notes, based on focus group interviews, that "everyday prejudices [are] widespread, regardless of residence, segregation, education or social status" and the media in Hungary has "serious responsibility for the discriminatory attitudes of the majority" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2020, ii, 2).

According to sources, Roma are also subject to violence (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4; MRG Jan. 2018) or "threats of violence" (US 30 Mar. 2021, 2). The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2020 indicates that "extremis[t]" groups target Roma (US 30 Mar. 2021, 2). Sources report that [in May 2020 (Hungary Today 29 May 2020)], far-right party Mi Hazánk Mozgalom, also known as Our Homeland Movement or Mi Hazánk, held a rally against "'gypsy crime'" in Budapest after the fatal stabbing of two football fans (Hungary Today 29 May 2020; Jacobin June 2020). Sources report that allegations that the perpetrators were Roma were spread by "certain radical groups and pro-government tabloids" (Hungary Today 29 May 2020) or on the internet (Jacobin June 2020), despite there being "no evidence" of any of the perpetrators being of Roma descent (Hungary Today 29 May 2020). Sources also note that following the event, there were incidents of "violent hate crimes against Roma people" (Jacobin June 2020) or two arrests "in connection with assault against a minority group" (Hungary Today 29 May 2020).

According to sources, Roma women face multiple, intersectional forms of discrimination based on ethnicity and gender (Hungary 4 July 2018, 30; MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2).

2.2 COVID-19 and Treatment of Roma

According to a February 2021 report by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) [3] on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Roma in Hungary, which was funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) [4] (NDI 12 Feb. 2021a), while systemic discrimination against the community preceded the pandemic, Roma communities have faced "extreme" vulnerabilities since its onset, which include health and socioeconomic challenges, as well as "new forms of discrimination and hate crime[s]" (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 2). According to MRGE and Idetartozunk Association, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roma felt "that they were the 'primary targets' of mass dismissals" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 8). The same source indicates that Roma living in Újpest [a district of Budapest] had been victims of "wrongful" police reports by their neighbours, despite being the focus group with the "highest social status" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 8).

2.3 Treatment by Authorities

MRG reports that racist violence and hate speech against Roma in Hungary "have been sustained by the continued hostility Roma face from police forces and officials, reflected in persistent discriminatory practices including ethnic profiling and fines for even the most minor infractions" (MRG Jan. 2018). A 2020 report by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) [5] on discrimination against Roma in Hungary's criminal justice system [6] notes that Roma distrust of the police is caused by the "negligent and ignorant attitude of the police" (HHC 2020, 13).

The MRGE and Idetartozunk Association report states that interviewees in three of the community focus groups "complain[ed] about police actions" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 6). The same source states that the following complaints about police treatment were reported in the focus group interviews:

  • In Újpest, "interventions were carried out publicly in the main square" and the police detained "two innocent individuals."
  • In Gilvánfa [in the southwestern region of Hungary] a "forced interrogation was reported."
  • In Meszes [in the north eastern region of Hungary] one "forced interrogation" occurred, and there was a case of a Roma assault victim who "'almost'" "'became the suspect'" in the eyes of the authorities, including ambulance personnel (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 6).

According to the 2020 HHC report, Roma face discrimination from the criminal justice system (HHC 2020, 33). In interviews the HHC conducted with members of the criminal justice system, civil society and the Roma community, regional differences were noted in the treatment of Roma by authorities, such as the police, and criminal justice professionals, such as lawyers and judges (HHC 2020, 4). The report goes on to state, based on interviews, that Roma in western Hungary "perceive less discrimination by police and criminal justice professionals" than Roma in the northern and eastern regions (HHC 2020, 4).

3. Access to Housing

According to the 2018 NSIS update, access to housing for Roma is "significantly worse" than for the average population, characterized by quality and affordability problems (Hungary 4 July 2018, 55, 56). The MRGE and Idetartozunk Association report notes that Roma people face housing discrimination, "from segregated villages to ghettoized settlements in cities which do not meet even the most basic living standards" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). MRG reports that 29 percent of Roma dwellings lack access to water from a tap and 43 percent do not have access to indoor bathroom facilities (MRG Jan. 2018).

According to a March 2021 shadow report on the situation of Roma in Hungary submitted for the UN's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights in Hungary by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) [7] and the Civic Roma Women of Bódva-völgy (BV-KRNE) [8], Roma people residing in "segregated slums" have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 (HCLU and BV-KRNE 3 Mar. 2021, 4). The same source further states that multi-generational households are more common in slums, and the lack of access to potable running water or heating has resulted in Roma communities being "exceptionally exposed to a possibly more rapid spread of the virus" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 3 Mar. 2021, 4). The HCLU and BV-KRNE report indicates that "countless" municipalities have adopted regulations "sanction[ing]" poor housing conditions, which represent a "gross violation" of rights, "mainly" of "poor Roma people living in unsatisfactory conditions" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 3 Mar. 2021, 12). According to the same source, these provisions allow authorities to make site visits to private properties and impose "administrative sanctions" for occupants whose homes are not sufficiently tidy (HCLU and BV-KRNE 3 Mar. 2021, 12).

4. Access to Employment

Human Rights Watch (HRW), in their report on the events of 2020, indicates that Roma face discrimination in workplaces (HRW 13 Jan. 2021, 316). The NSIS update states that the unemployment rate is "three to five times higher" for Roma than non-Roma (Hungary 4 July 2018, 48).

According to MRGE and Idetartozunk Association, Roma women face discrimination in employment, "both for being femal[e] and for belonging to the Roma community" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). The same source notes that according to focus group participants, individuals who were not born into the Roma community but became members through marriage have also faced anti-Roma discrimination; for example, a focus group participant, a non-Roma woman who was married to a Roma man, from István-akna [located in the southwestern region of Hungary] reported being denied a restaurant job after the employer "heard where she lived" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 8).

Sources indicate that many Roma "are involved in" (HHC [2019], 3) or rely on (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 9) public works programs (HHC [2019], 3; NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 9). According to an October 2019 report on the implementation of Hungary's National Roma Integration Strategy by Autonómia Foundation and twelve other civil society groups [9], including Idetartozunk Association, public employment is often "the only means of subsistence" for Roma communities (Autonómia Foundation, et al. Oct. 2019, 21). Without providing additional details, the NDI reports that public employment and related government support services made available by municipal authorities vary "significantly" across the country (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 9). According to an addendum to a submission by HHC for the April–May 2019 periodic reports on Hungary by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the public employment program is not governed by Hungarian labour law regulations (HHC [2019], 3). According to the MRGE and Idetartozunk Association report, Roma are overrepresented in public works programs, and incidents of discrimination go underreported due to fear of loss of benefits (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). A report on the limited elections observation mission for Hungary's April 2018 parliamentary elections by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) states that according to ODIHR interviewees during the elections, Roma people felt "force[d]" to vote for the Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz), the ruling party, for "fear of losing access to the limited public works funds" (OSCE 9 Apr. 2018, 2, 9).

According to the NDI, public employment programs have been halted over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, "leaving many [Roma] communities destitute" (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 9). A May 2020 article by Reuters indicates that Roma who are employed in the "black economy" "usually" cannot qualify for social assistance from the state, and "such workers are often the first to get laid off" (Reuters 5 May 2020). The NDI survey indicates that approximately 40 percent of Roma households require financial assistance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to afford food, medical bills, and rent (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 4). According to the May 2020 Reuters article, the Hungarian government has introduced a suite of measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 lockdown with provisions principally aimed at helping businesses, but according to activists these provisions do not meet the needs of vulnerable communities and individuals such as the Roma (Reuters 5 May 2020).

5. Access to Education

Sources report that Roma children disproportionately face segregation (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4; Hungary 4 July 2018, 41; MRGE and Idetartozuk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2), and lower quality education in the school system (Hungary 4 July 2018, 41; MRGE and Idetartozuk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). According to Freedom House, Roma students are also "improperly placed" into schools for children with "mental disabilities" (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4).

In a case reported by sources, a court found in favour of approximately 60 former Roma students who were segregated in school and awarded them damages (Amnesty International 7 Apr. 2021, 181; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 6; HRW 13 Jan. 2021, 316). According to sources, in early 2020, the court ruling on the school in Gyöngyöspata became the target of a government "communication and media campaign to discredit" the Roma claimants (Amnesty International 7 Apr. 2021, 181) or an "anti-Roma campaign" (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4). The HRW report notes that the Supreme Court subsequently upheld the lower court's decision (HRW 13 Jan. 2021, 316). Amnesty International indicates that in May 2020 Hungary's Supreme Court ordered the government to give the claimants the compensation they had been awarded (Amnesty International 7 Apr. 2021, 181). Sources indicate that the Hungarian parliament subsequently adopted a law [that entered into force on 22 July 2020 (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 7)] preventing courts from awarding pecuniary compensation for future similar claims (Freedom House 3 Mar. 2021, Sec. F4; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 7). According to the Autonómia Foundation et al. report, there has been corruption in the management of EU funds, as well as the misuse of funds in support of Roma segregation practices in educational institutions (Autonómia Foundation, et al. Oct. 2019, 7).

According to NDI focus group respondents, barriers to childhood education for Roma community members are "exacerbated by broader economic hardship, food and housing insecurity and health challenges" during COVID-19 (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 5). The same source further notes that Roma children were deprived of school-provided free meals due to the transition to online classes (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 5).

The HCLU and BV-KRNE report states that school closures at the onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020 represented an important barrier to education for Roma children living in extreme poverty and it became "impossible" for these children to keep pace with the curriculum because they "mostly" did not have access to equipment and internet (HCLU and BV-KRNE 3 Mar. 2021, 4–5).

According to sources, Roma children are overrepresented in Hungarian state care facilities (ERRC and RPF 27 Feb. 2018, 4; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 9). The HCLU and BV-KRNE report states that "data suggests" that 30 percent of Roma children in foster care were removed from their families "due to poverty," a practice that is forbidden by Hungarian law, and made "even more problematic" by the "deficient" state of public childcare facilities in the country (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 8). Sources indicate that the placing of Roma children in foster care facilities "increases their likelihood" (ERRC and RPF 27 Feb. 2018, 7) or puts them at "greater risk" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 9) of child trafficking (ERRC and RPF 27 Feb. 2018, 7; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 9). According to a March 2020 report on Hungary by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), procedures for reporting violence against children are ineffective and there is a low rate of reporting of such cases to authorities (UN 3 Mar. 2020, para. 23(b)).

6. Access to Healthcare

The Autonómia Foundation et al. report that in many regions across Hungary, healthcare services function at "low capacity" and there is a "lack" of pediatricians not only in segregated settlements but also in "many" parts of the country (Autonómia Foundation, et al. Oct. 2019, 6). A March 2021 Reuters article reports that government data indicates that 10 percent of small general practitioner clinics have closed because there is no doctor to run them and that the clinics that closed were "mostly in areas with high Roma populations" (Reuters 31 Mar. 2021). According to the April 2020 ERRC report, there are "significant" regional inequalities in the availability of healthcare services and Roma are "disproportionately" affected, including by the high number of unfilled general and pediatric physician positions in "disadvantaged" regions (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 13). According to HCLU and BV-KRNE, the reform of the social security system in Hungary that took effect on 1 July 2020 mandates the payment of a monthly tax to the national healthcare fund by unemployed persons who do not qualify for unemployment or other social benefits, creating a "financial burden that Roma families living in poverty cannot overcome" and leading to the accumulation of "significant debts," and excluding those with "a certain amount" of accumulated unpaid taxes "from free healthcare as of 12 February 2021" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 5).

The NDI report notes that "Roma communities across the country have limited access to government support services and healthcare" (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 4). The same source states that 74 percent of survey respondents indicated that their household does not have access to hospital care in their location (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 4). The April 2020 ERRC report indicates that, according to participants in a focus group [10] conducted in Baranya county [in southern Hungary], physical access to healthcare was identified as a major issue, and that following the government's "centralisation of the regional healthcare system" some prenatal health services are only available in the city of Pécs, which requires the time and financial resources to take public transportation into the city (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 19). According to Open Society Foundations, a "private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights" founded by George Soros (Open Society Foundations n.d.), pandemic-related restrictions on public transportation have affected access to essential healthcare for Roma with chronic illnesses or other medical conditions, since Roma "rely on public transport for visits to doctors and pharmacies" (Open Society Foundations Apr. 2020, 4).

The HCLU and BV-KRNE report notes that Roma who live in segregated slums often lack a family physician, access to medical care and access to information, and as a result the impact of COVID-19 is "more dire" in Roma communities (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 4). The NDI report states that there "are inadequate levels of information in Roma communities on how to receive assistance" during the COVID-19 pandemic (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 2). According to the NDI survey, three percent of Roma households reported "using their municipalities for information on the [COVID-19] pandemic" (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 4). The same source reports that there is "weak" communication between the central government, local authorities, and Roma communities regarding COVID-19 public health restrictions and the availability of support services (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 4). The same source reports that Roma citizens have "reduced" access to healthcare since the onset of the pandemic due to the rerouting of government funding from routine healthcare to specific measures to counter COVID-19, which has resulted in a reduction of primary care and hospital resources (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 5). According to the April 2020 Open Society Foundations report, testing for COVID-19 in Hungary is contingent upon health insurance access, effectively excluding a "significant" proportion of Roma (Open Society Foundations Apr. 2020, 4).

Sources indicate that Roma women face discrimination in maternity wards (Amnesty International 7 Apr. 2021, 180; HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 10; MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). According to the ERRC, while prenatal and childbirth-related care are covered by the public healthcare system in Hungary, "in practice women using these services often have to (or are expected to) pay for the care informally" (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 6). The HCLU and BV-KRNE report notes that Roma women at a hospital in Borsod county faced discrimination, primarily in the maternity ward (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 10). The ERRC report states that in the summer of 2016, a Roma woman filed a complaint with the regional Equal Treatment Authority (ETA) [a "quasi-judicial" equality body within the Hungarian state (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 52)] with ERRC's assistance, claiming she had faced racial harassment during labour in a public hospital in Miskolc, a city in northern Hungary, which is one of the country's poorest regions and has a large Roma population (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 27, 29). The same source notes that following an investigation, the ETA ruled in favour of the Roma woman (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 30). Amnesty International reports that Hungary's Supreme Court "confirmed" that the maternity ward at the hospital in Miskolc "had discriminated against pregnant Roma women from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds" (Amnesty International 7 Apr. 2021, 180). The HCLU and BV-KRNE report notes that the practice of segregating Roma and non-Roma women in maternity wards in public hospitals in Hungary is "widespread" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 10). Based on the results of the five focus groups conducted in the counties of Baranya and Borsod in 2016, the ERRC report notes that some respondents indicated that "segregated maternity wards existed," while others noted that segregation was not "an absolute policy in public hospitals" (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 23).

7. State Protection
7.1 Police

According to the HCLU and BV-KRNE report, there is a lack of trust between the police and Roma communities because of the perception by "[m]any" Roma that the police are unreliable when the victim of the crime is of Roma descent and because of the "over-polic[ing]" of administrative offences (like unpaid fines) when the perpetrator is of Roma descent (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 11). In a case of a bicycle theft report made by a Roma individual to the police, the HCLU and BV-KRNE indicate that the police responded by telling the Roma complainant to "'steal it back'"; in another case where a Roma individual reported an assault, they were told they should have "'just dealt with it among themselves'" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 11). In a case reported by the HHC, Roma individuals were fearful of coming forward to police when a violent act was committed against them as "not only [would the police] neglect the report," but the assailant would "take revenge and the police would still not defend them" (HHC 2020, 13).

7.2 Administrative

Sources report that the legal environmental for seeking administrative remedy has taken a "palpable step back" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 12) or has been "continuously shrinking since 2015" (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2). According to the HCLU and BV-KRNE report, the right to challenge administrative decisions, such as the removal of Roma children from their family environment, to the second instance authority was abolished from the applicable legislation, leaving the court as the sole recourse for appealing such decisions (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 12). The same source adds that this creates an "immense obstacle" for Roma people, in part because of "expensive" court fees, which can be waived only if "extremely strict" criteria are met (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 12). Without providing further details, MRGE and Idetartozunk Association report that access to free legal aid "has almost ceased to exist" since the adoption of reforms to the civil law procedure in 2018 (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 2–3).

7.3 Judiciary

According to a March 2021 report submitted by Amnesty International and seven other Hungarian civil society organizations [11], including HCLU and HHC, to the European Commission for its 2021 Annual Rule of Law Report, high-ranking state authorities, including the Hungarian prime minister, "regularly" interfere in pending court cases through public statements and the placing of pressure on judges, "especially when dealing with cases concerning the protection of individuals or vulnerable minorities against state actors" (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 13). According to the same source, a new Commissioner for Fundamental Rights (CFR) [ombudsperson] took office in September 2019 and has since "failed to address almost any of the systemic issues that result in the extensive rights violations of the Roma," including when the government launched a campaign against the judgment rendered by the courts awarding compensation in a case of school segregation of Roma students (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 51–52).

A June 2019 CERD report indicates that racist and violent hate crimes against Roma persist (UN 6 June 2019, para. 14(a)). The same source reports that "improper" classification and recording of cases of hate crimes and "the lack of proper investigations lead to a lack of accountability for the perpetrators" (UN 6 June 2019, para. 14(c)). According to the same report, the legal framework on hate crimes is disproportionately applied and stricter penalties are imposed when the perpetrators are from ethnic minority groups rather than perpetrators from the national majority (UN 6 June 2019, para. 14(d)). According to the 2020 HHC report, Roma in criminal proceedings distrust the criminal justice system (HHC 2020, 25, 26). The same source reports, according to interviews conducted with "criminal justice professionals" on "attitudes and practices" in criminal procedures with Roma defendants, that judges proceed in an "arrogant manner when the defendant has a Roma ethnic background" (HHC 2020, 24). Lawyers of Roma defendants interviewed by the HHC stated that some attorneys try to avoid taking on Roma cases to "prevent any potential negative effect on their [other] clients" and that having Roma clients visit legal firms "would result in a 'bad' reputation amongst the [firm's] neighbours" (HHC 2020, 26). According to HCLU and BV-KRNE, the lack of effectiveness and competence of free state legal aid defence lawyers and the lack of financial accessibility of a private lawyer "disproportionately" affects Roma persons, "leaving most Roma persons without effective protection and legal expertise in the courtroom" (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 13).

Sources indicate that in January 2021, the ETA was subsumed under the CFR (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 52; MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 3), then dissolved (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 52). According to Amnesty International et al., NGOs have called the transfer of the ETA's responsibilities to the CFR "unnecessary and unjustified" and indicated that it "may also weaken the level of human rights protection" (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 52). The same source notes that the ETA was historically considered to have been an important and effective recourse for addressing rights violations against members of Roma communities (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 52).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Hungarian National Social Inclusion Strategy (NSIS) II of 2011-2020 is a suite of objectives for social inclusion policy, including the aim of achieving "a fundamental change of attitude concerning poverty and the Roma population" (Hungary 4 July 2018, 6–7).

[2] The report by Minority Rights Group Europe (MRGE) and Idetartozunk Association (Idetartozunk Egyesület) included focus group interviews with community groups, human rights advocacy lawyers, activists, and Roma NGOs, which were conducted in October and November 2020 (MRGE and Idetartozunk Association 1 Mar. 2021, 4)

[3] The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is a global "non-profit, non-partisan" NGO that advocates for strengthening democratic institutions and practices around the world (NDI n.d.). The NDI report included public polling and focus group research conducted from May to August 2020 with a sample that was "statistically representative of the Hungarian Roma population in terms of gender, level of education and region" (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 3). The survey was conducted across 27 settlements in 9 counties with 2,359 respondents (607 households) (NDI 12 Feb. 2021b, 3).

[4] The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is "an independent, nonprofit foundation," "largely" funded by US Congress, working to develop democratic institutions, including by providing grants to overseas NGOs "working for democratic goals" (NED n.d.).

[5] The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) is a "public benefit human rights organization that protects human dignity through legal and public activities" and "provide[s] help to refugees, detainees and victims of law enforcement violence" (HHC n.d.).

[6] The HHC report is part of a transnational project called "Fighting unconscious bias and discrimination [against] Roma people in the criminal justice system" organized by Fair Trials, "an international NGO that fights for fair and equal criminal justice" (Fair Trials n.d.), and funded by the EU (HHC 2020, ii, 1). The report included 30 interviews with Roma individuals and legal professionals (HHC 2020, 1).

[7] The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) is a Hungary-based human rights NGO whose activities, include the monitoring of human rights and legislation, the pursuit of litigation, and the provision of free legal aid to thousands of cases a year (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 1).

[8] The Civic Roma Women of Bódva-völgy (BV-KRNE) is a civil society organization located in the Bódva-völgy region of Hungary which advocates for the human rights and wellbeing of Roma women and children (HCLU and BV-KRNE 8 Mar. 2021, 1).

[9] Autonómia Foundation (Autonómia Alapítvány) is Hungary-based organization that supports the development of civil society and partners with Roma and non-Roma organizations to support civil initiatives, through development and "grant giving activities" with marginalized people (Autonómia Foundation n.d.). The monitoring report was co-authored by the following civil society organizations: BAGázs Non-Profit Association (BAGázs Közhasznú Egyesület); Eger SZETA Foundation (SZETA Egri Alapítványa); Together for Each Other Association (Együtt Közösen Egymásért Egyesület); Chance for Children Foundation (Esélyt a Hátrányos Helyzetű, CFCF); National Association of Disadvantaged Families; Idetartozunk Association; Motivation Educational Association (Motiváció Oktatási Egyesület); Association of Roma Minority Representatives and Advocates of Nógrád County (Nógrád Megyei Cigány Kisebbségi Képviselők és Szószólók Szövetsége); Pro Cserehát Association (Pro Cserehát Egyesület); Romaversitas Foundation (Romaversitas Alapítvány); UCCU Roma Informal Educational Foundation (UCCU Roma Informális Oktatási Alapítvány) (Autonómia Foundation, et al. Oct. 2019, 3).

[10] The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) conducted five focus group discussions with Roma women on the topic of reproductive rights and healthcare access in four villages in Baranya Country and one village in Borsod county between the months of June and December 2016, with the participation of 40 individuals ranging from the ages of 19 and 61 (ERRC 30 Apr. 2020, 17, 18).

[11] The report was co-authored by the following Hungarian NGOs: Amnesty International Hungary; Eötvös Károly Institute; HCLU; HHC; K-Monitor; Mertek Media Monitor; Political Capital; Transparency International Hungary (Amnesty International, et al. Mar. 2021, 1).

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: European Center for Not-for-Profit Law; European Roma Rights Centre; Háttér Society; Human Rights Watch; Hungarian Civil Liberties Union; Hungary – Embassy of Hungary Ottawa; Open Society Foundations – Roma Initiatives Office; Partners Hungary Foundation; Policy Center for Roma and Minorities.

Internet sites, including: Agence France-Presse; Al Jazeera; Associated Press; Council of Europe; ecoi.net; EU – European Commission; Hungary – Ministry of Human Capacities, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies; UN – Refworld.