The Roma in Gyöngyöspata: a report in L’Humanité

Andrew Coates links to a disturbing report about  events in Gyöngyöspata, Hungary.  I can’t find anything to confirm the account given in L’Humanité, but here is the link.  I’ve already blogged about this village, and clashes between its Roma inhabitants and far right militias.  The nationalist party Jobbik won the local election in July, and, according to L’Humanité, has been forcing the unemployed to take part in public works, or forfeit their benefits.  (They are paid an additional wage for the work, but apparently existing debts – it’s unclear what these might include – are deducted at source.) The article implies that this requirement is being applied far more strictly when it comes to the unemployed Roma.

The work involves clearing waste ground.  Some medical certificates have been ignored, as have requests to be allowed to pursue alternative paid work (harvesting grapes.)  There is no shade, the tools they have been given are inadequate, and the toilets are ten minutes away.  Sometimes water supplies have run out.Meanwhile in the village itself the Roma have been intimidated by skinheads, and paramilitary groups linked to Jobbik.  A local shop keeper offers her perspective:

“Since the marches, the tourists haven’t been coming.  We never really had problems with the Roma.  People say that chickens were stolen in their quarter, but that’s stopped … the problem is work.  The sugar factory was privatised, then shut, 21 years ago.  There’s no more work for Hungarians, let alone for the Roma.’

Any further information about this particular situation would be very helpful.

Hat Tip: Tendance Coatsey