Target: Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Goal: Condemn the Hungarian right-wing parties for encouraging anti-Semitism and ethnic tensions.
The ruling center-right Fidesz Party and their far-right coalition partner Jobbik have been fanning the flames of ethnic tension and discrimination. Party members have targeted Jews and Roma for prejudiced attacks. Discrimination against these groups is becoming more overt. Sign the petition to condemn the Hungarian right-wing for encouraging growing discrimination and alienation of Jews and Roma.
The Roma face widespread discrimination in Hungary. They make up 7% of the population but comprise a high percentage of the poor and unemployed. A founding member of the Fidesz Party was accused of racism after writing a newspaper column about a bar fight where some participants were Roma. A journalist unrelated to the government wrote in a newspaper, “A significant part of the Roma are unfit for coexistence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals.” The Fidesz Party reaction to the column was limited, the Justice Minister condemned the remarks, but the Prime Minister Viktor Orban refused to comment. The far-right Jobbik Party has similarly been targeting Roma, often blaming the increase in violence for “gypsy crime”. In a meeting of party members the Jobbik Vice President issued a statement saying, “There is no public security in whole regions of Hungary … the Gypsies terrorise and [threaten] Hungarian inhabitants.” Roma have faced assaults and beatings by mobs because of the racially charged rhetoric.
Anti-Semitism is also on the rise in Hungary. A Jobbik MP caused outrage after he suggested the government should create a list of Jews who pose national security risks. The party often talks about “Israeli colonization” of Hungary. Sign the petition to condemn racist rhetoric against Roma and Jews by members of Fidesz and Jobbik.
Dear Prime Minister Viktor Orban,
I am writing as a human rights activist to condemn the hostile and discriminatory rhetoric that members of your party and your coalition partner Jobbik, have used against Jews and Roma. Your refusal to condemn and discipline party members that express racist sentiments serves to embolden bigots. A 2012 survey by the Anti-Defamation League has found that Anti-Semitic sentiment has increased dramatically in Hungary. 73% believe that Jews have too much power in the business world and 60% believe that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.
Roma are facing much more overt attacks. There are numerous accounts of Roma men and women being assaulted and beaten in the streets. Roma face discrimination in housing and employment, as they are often denied accommodations and jobs once people find out their ethnicity. The outrageous statements by Fidesz and Jobbik members are further inflaming the population against Roma and Jews. Your silence and the reluctance of your party to discipline party members empowers radical racists. As the Federation of Jewish Communities said, “You can [hear] the same voices what was in the ’30s, in the ’40s… exactly the same sentences as what the fascists said between the two world wars.” Hungary is traveling down a dangerous path and I urge you to do something before it is too late.
I hope you consider my thoughts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: UNDP in Europe and Central Asia via Flickr