LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 17, 2014) — Hindus are concerned for the safety of Roma (Gypsies) in Hungary after a Harvard University report indicated “need for measures to ensure the physical and psychological safety of the Roma and other minority groups”, suggesting that “warning signs exist”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this report had highlighted the alarming condition of Roma in Hungary and “persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against the Roma” and European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) should immediately act.
The report, titled “Accelerating Patterns of Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary”, by Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights of Harvard School of Public Health of Harvard University, released this month, calls UN, Hungarian Government and EU to “act to avoid the dangers that the Roma and other minority groups in Hungary have been exposed to in recent years”. Report talks about “Hungary’s mounting incidence of hate crimes, racist propaganda, discrimination, and exclusionary ideologies”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that international community should take this growing risk to Roma safety very seriously and do something concrete about it. Continued racism, discrimination, xenophobia and violence against an already persecuted community should not be acceptable to the 21st century Europe and world.
Rajan Zed stressed that mechanisms should be urgently developed to protect the vulnerable Roma and racist narrative like “Gypsy crime” should be banned. It should be an EU wide priority to integrate Roma.
Zed pointed out that in Hungary, despite various so called government initiatives, Roma reportedly continued to face blatant discrimination, shanty town living, an atmosphere of hostility, huge unemployment rate, lower life expectancy, prejudice, significantly higher school dropout rate, racism, stereotyping, school segregation, social exclusion, mistrust, human rights violations, etc.
Harvard report also stated: Hate speech…, hate-motivated killings, stigmatization of Romani people, discriminatory practices, and social and economic exclusion were on the rise in Hungary…Roma faced blatant discrimination, violence, and insecurity on a daily basis…Implementation is the most important test in combating hate crime and racially motivated violence, and it is this very test that many states in Europe fail, particularly in regard to the Roma.
According to US Department of State Report for 2012 on Human Rights Practices in Hungary: Roma were discriminated against in almost all fields of life, particularly in employment, education, housing, penal institutions, and access to public places, such as restaurants and bars.
Jennifer Leaning is Director of FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Julio Frenk is Dean of Harvard School of Public Health and Drew Gilpin Faust is President of Harvard University.