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Hungary: Identification and culture of Roma; skinhead and neo-Nazi groups; police affirmative action programmes; state protection; European airport transit procedures

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 September 1998
Citation / Document Symbol HUN30081.EX
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary: Identification and culture of Roma; skinhead and neo-Nazi groups; police affirmative action programmes; state protection; European airport transit procedures, 1 September 1998, HUN30081.EX, available at: [accessed 19 May 2023]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.



This Extended Response to Information Request updates and should be read in conjunction with the March 1998 Issue Paper Roma in Hungary and a number of Responses to Information Requests available on the IRB Website and at the IRB Regional Documentation Centres. As noted above, the five issues examined in this paper are: identification and culture, skinhead and neo-nazi groups, police recruitment programmes, state protection and airport transit procedures. The information contained in this paper is drawn almost entirely from non-documentary sources, by means of telephone interviews and correspondence.


The level of integration of Hungarian Roma into majority Hungarian society; intermarriage between Roma and non-Roma; languages spoken by Hungarian Roma; Romani language proficiency among Hungarian Roma; physical appearance

        The Research Directorate asked Mr. Gábor Miklosi of the Budapest-based Roma Press Centre (RPC) if he could supply the names of individuals who would be willing to discuss the issue of Romani culture and identity in Hungary. Mr. Miklosi reported that he was unable to find such individuals, in part because many had misgivings about the nature of the questions the Research Directorate might ask. Mr. Miklosi further stated that:

I am not fully convinced either that any objective set of criteria can or should be established on the basis of which it can be ascertained that someone is a Rom or not. ...This is a very sensitive issue, and requires very cautious handling. ... In Hungary there is no registration of the citizens regarding their ethnicity, since it is entirely up to them to consider themselves Romani, Hungarian, Jewish or anything else. Ethnicity is ... 'sensitive' data, and the collection and registration of it is strictly regulated (4 Aug. 1998).

             Miklosi did note, however, that in his opinion the best way to verify the ethnicity of an individual is to ask questions related to their cultural background. According to Miklosi, Hungarian Roma make up three main groups: Hungarian, Romani and Beash speakers. Even the most urbanised and assimilated Roma are probably, but not necessarily, aware of Romani culture, the differences between the three main groups of Roma in Hungary, and most Hungarian-speaking Roma understand a little Romani, such as basic greetings (7 Aug. 1998; ibid. 7 Sept. 1998).  Aside from a "handful" of intellectuals, ethnic Hungarians do not speak or understand Romani, and are not knowledgeable about the facts of the Roma community.

The information that follows was provided by Martin Kovats (16 August 1998) and Zoltan Barany (4 August 1998), two academics who specialise in Hungarian Roma affairs. Please see the Notes on Selected Sources for more detailed information on these individuals.

According to Martin Kovats, more than 500,000 Roma live in Hungary, 70 to 75 per cent of whom are Romungro (plural: Romungre) Roma, a term which literally means "Hungarian Rom." Mr. Kovats agrees with Roma scholar and University of Greenwich Professor Thomas Acton's position that the word Romungro is "most probably a general categorisation identifying those Roma communities which have lived for centuries in Hungary." The first Roma arrived in Hungary in the mid-fourteenth century and the vast majority of Hungarian Roma had settled (abandoned nomadic lifestyles) by the end of the nineteenth century.

A certain amount of antagonism exists among the three main1 Romani groups in Hungary (Kovats). This antagonism stems in part from "communist and pre-communist times when society was told that it was the Roma, whose culture was most distinct from that of Hungarian, which were the real problem" (ibid.). 

The majority of Hungarian Roma speak only Hungarian (Kovats; Barany). Language is the most clearly identifiable feature of members of the Beash and Romani-speaking communities (Kovats). Those who speak Romani (approximately 20 per cent of the country's Romani population) and Beash (approximately 7 per cent) come from communities that arrived in Hungary relatively recently (ibid.; Barany). Most Romani speakers live around Gyongyos and Eger, in communities in the eastern counties of Hungary and in Budapest, according to Kovats. Zoltan Barany states that the largest concentration of Romani-speaking Hungarian Roma is found in southern regions of the country, especially around the city of Pecs. Most Beash Roma live in Baranya county and the surrounding counties (Kovats).

Generally speaking, older Roma are more likely to speak Romani, although some younger Roma have learned Romani in recent years due to the revival of interest in Romani culture and language (Barany).

Overall, intermarriage between Roma and non-Roma is "almost negligible," according to Barany. Intermarriage between Roma and non-Roma is rarer among Romani- and Beash-speakers than it is among the Romungre population (Kovats). Given the length of time Romungre have been resident in Hungary, there has been much more opportunity for relationships to be formed with non-Roma. The only figure Kovats is aware of that cites the degree of intermarriage of Roma in Hungary is that compiled by socio-biologist Tamas Bereczki who claims that "about 25% of Roma men and about 10% of Roma women 'marry out'." Levels of intermarriage are likely higher in urban centres than in rural areas (ibid.; Barany) and generally it is the Romani elite, Romani activists and those few hundred with a university education who are most likely to have married non-Roma (ibid.).

Regarding physical appearance, Kovats writes that

many [Roma] can be distinguished from non-Roma through colour but there are also very many who cannot. The term 'blond Gypsy' is a common one in Hungary and refers solely to appearance. However, there are other ways by which Roma are identified (though we should always bear in mind that ethnic identity is a social and not a biological construction). Though Romungre speak Hungarian many (especially those with less access to formal education) speak it in a way which their non-Magyar identity can be recognised whether this be by accent, vocabulary or grammatical construction. However, this is also true of rural Magyars and other nationalities. Another means of identification may also be dress (women wearing long skirts, men more brightly coloured clothing than most Magyars would use).

Barany states that it is nearly impossible to ascertain with certainty whether an individual is in fact a Rom by their physical appearance, although in general it is obvious due to the dark colour of the skin, hair and eyes of Roma. On the other hand, there are very fair-skinned, blue-eyed Roma in Hungary, but they are extremely rare. According to Barany, well integrated Roma, whether fair-skinned or not, face much less discrimination than do less integrated or more easily identifiable Roma.

Where Roma have not adopted less traditional Romani names, surnames can also provide a means of identification (Kovats; Barany). Common Romani surnames include Virag, Harangozo, Rostas, Lakatos, Hegedüs, Farkas and Balog (ibid.).

Martin Kovats further states that

probably the most significant marker of who is Rom is where someone comes from. After the Second World War well over 80% of Roma lived in the countryside, most in isolated settlements amidst very poor conditions. Communist industrialisation brought many into towns or cities or relocated Roma closer to the centre of villages. The most recent survey (1992-3) showed that most (60%) of Roma still live in villages (though very few in totally isolated settlements). Relocations certainly brought Roma into closer contact with Magyars, but usually housed in particular parts of towns or villages. Thus there is still the memory of who moved where and still a legacy of  "Roma" parts of towns. Indeed, the 1992-3 survey noted that Roma housing is still 'strongly segregated' with around 60% of Roma living in areas where their neighbours are almost entirely or mainly other Rom. In some ways it is similar to the situation in Northern Ireland where one can be identified as Catholic or Protestant by where one lives.


Number of  skinhead and neo-nazi groups active in Hungary; their geographic concentration; the attitude of police toward these groups

        Dr. Barany believes that altogether there are no more than, and possibly fewer than, 1,000 skinheads and neo-nazis active in Hungary. The largest concentrations of skinheads can be found in Budapest and Eger, although they are a very mobile group and Hungary is a small country - they can appear anywhere. Skinhead attacks on Roma are not common and, in fact, violent attacks have decreased substantially since the early 1990s (Barany; Kovats). Skinhead violence is not a significant problem in Hungary today, according to Barany.

Barany states that in the unsettled times around 1989 and 1990 many local police officers almost certainly shared the anti-Romani sentiment found among the general population and may not have been vigilant in their efforts to combat racial violence, discrimination against Roma and skinhead activity. This situation has changed, however, in part because of the publicity such attacks and incidents generate and because Hungary cannot afford a bad reputation if it wishes to integrate with European structures such as the European Union (EU). While there have been exceptions, since 1991 there has been a general trend of increased vigilance on the part of law enforcement officers in policing skinhead and neo-nazi groups. The police have received strong messages from the Ministry of Interior that police who do not fulfil their duties will be punished, fired, etc.

Martin Kovats agrees that the situation between Roma and the far right has improved somewhat in the last four years:

Immediately after the change of system (and even before) the skinhead movement grew rapidly. The main targets of the skinheads were black people (most of whom left the country) and Roma. The movement peaked in 1992-3 before pressure both at home and abroad forced the Democratic Forum led government to distance itself from its more racist supporters. The socialist-liberal coalition of 1994-98 effectively clamped down on racial violence and gave no encouragement to skinhead groups and the number of racial attacks declined.

Nonetheless, Kovats concludes:

It is too early to say what the new right-wing government will do in this area. I am pessimistic about this as the government is explicitly (Magyar) nationalist, but has also adopted a populist programme which it is very unlikely to be able to deliver and thus will inevitably seek scapegoats (though in the first instance this is likely to be former Communists). More worrying is the entrance into parliament for the first time of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party2  led by Istvan Csurka (one of the HDF [Hungarian Democratic Forum] leaders whose explicit anti-Semitism led him to be expelled from the HDF in 1993).


Update on the police affirmative action programme designed to recruit Roma into the police force

        Information that would update that contained in HUN29312.E of 28 April 1998 on the progress or status of Hungarian Ministry of Interior programmes aimed at recruiting Romani police officers and encouraging Romani youth to join the police forces was not available to the Research Directorate at the time of publishing this report.

Please find attached to this Extended Response, however, a 10 June 1998 Hungarian Ministry of Interior report entitled Overview on the Practices of Handling Minority Affairs by the Police in Hungary. This eight-page report traces a brief history of police-minority relations in Hungary. It acknowledges that Roma in Hungary, as in other countries, are over-represented in criminal statistics, are marginalised within society and are among the poorest segments of society. The report states that Roma have the most difficulty interacting with police and "more often than the average ... become the victims of police abuses" (MOI 10 June 1998, 1). Furthermore, the report states: "the relationship between the police and Romany has become one of the touchstones of political democracy in Hungary today." The report outlines the legal context, using both international and domestic norms, of minority rights in Hungary, the recent changes in Romani-police relations and anti-discrimination programmes launched by the Ministry of Interior and the National Police Headquarters.

The attached translation of a 17-18 July 1998 article from the Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság provides a detailed overview of the success and challenges of a pilot project in the Hungarian county of Nógrád. The article traces the evolution of Romani-police relations in Nógrád since 1996, when local Romani representatives met with the County Chief of Police to discuss key issues in the community. Later in 1996 a three-day training session was held when members of the Romani community and local police forces gathered together to discuss mutual prejudices held by both groups. Police training in Romani culture and conflict management followed (ibid.; MOI 10 June 1998, 6). Nógrád officials recognised that in order to improve Romani-police relations Romani youth must be encouraged to join the police force (Népszabadság 17-18 July 1998). Supported by the Hungarian National Police Headquarters, Romani youth interested in joining the police force were given scholarships enabling them to continue their education and eventually attain the qualifications necessary to become police officers. The article concludes that

the experience in Nógrád demonstrates that an important factor in the improvement of the Roma-police relations is the employment of suitable police officers of Roma descent. According to the head of the Bátorterenye Police Station, Sergeant Major Gábor Radics [a Rom] does outstanding work, therefore he is soon going to be appointed local representative.

According to the Ministry of Interior report, a National Police Headquarters assessment of the Nógrád project found it a success, concluding that the project has "matured [enough] to be spread nation-wide, and [the National Police Headquarters] shall centrally support its application in other counties" (10 June 1998, 6).


Information on state protection that would update that contained in the March 1998 Issue Paper "Roma in Hungary" and subsequent Responses to Information Requests

        A variety of sources report that Roma now have new avenues available to them to pursue judicial appeals and seek redress (Barany 4 Aug. 1998; Kovats 16 Aug. 1998; Office of the Ombudsman 25 Aug. 1998; HHC 14 Sept. 1998). Kovats points out that a number of national and international legal defence offices for Roma have been formed since 1989. The offices available include:

1. Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights (Ombudsperson)

2. Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson)

3. Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI) or Másság Alapítvány (Headed by Imre Furmann)

4. Legal Aid Office for Minorities (Headed by Miklós Pálfi)

5. Foundation for Civil Rights of Roma or Roma Polgárjogi Alapítvány (Headed by Aldár Horváth)

6. And others, including a vast number of international Roma and human rights protection organisations (Office of the Ombudsman 25 Aug. 1998; HHC 14 Sept. 1998; Kovats 16 Aug. 1998; Barany 4 Aug. 1998).

A significant percentage of the Minority Rights Ombudsman's caseload is dedicated to issues raised by Roma, according to Barany. A programme director with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) reports that the number of complaints filed with the Minority Rights Ombudsman by Roma has decreased somewhat from 68 per cent of the total caseload in 1996 to 63 per cent in 1997 (14 Sept. 1998).

According to the HHC programme director:

it must be noted, however, that the mandate of the Ombudspersons does not allow for bringing legally binding decisions in cases, instead, they may "only" make recommendations to the authorities. Nevertheless, as many such recommendations receive substantial attention from the press and general public, and most recommendations are accepted by the respective authority without any further debate, the Ombudsman has developed into a powerful institution over the past 3 years since its establishment. The Ombudspersons may conduct investigations into alleged abuses based on complaints as well as on their own initiative.

Minority Rights Ombudsman Jenõ Kaltenbach has requested the Minister of Justice to "explore the possibility of implementing laws for equal employment, " according to a Roma Press Centre report (4 Aug. 1998). The recommendation was made after Kaltenbach found that a job advertisement seeking only "white and anti-alcoholic" employees was unconstitutional and violated minority rights and the labour code  (ibid.). According to the RPC report, "there has been no example of a lawsuit for workplace discrimination against minorities in Hungary." Ombudsman Kaltenbach's office has initiated an investigation designed to "explore workplace discrimination, related misuse of authority, and to detect cases where layoffs or refused employments [sic] were discriminatory" (ibid.). 

Kovats notes that the legal defence offices referred to above have scored a number of successes, including the 1997 fining of a pub owner for refusing a Rom entrance to his pub (see pages 30-31 of the March 1998 Issue Paper Roma in Hungary for further information) (Office of the Ombudsman 25 Aug. 1998). "These offices provide valuable advice as well as representation to Roma enabling many ... [who would not otherwise be able] to pursue cases or to defend themselves. However, these positive steps are more than matched by the perpetuation and probable strengthening of the stereotype that Roma are criminals" (Kovats).

Despite the efforts of NEKI and other groups to combat discrimination and represent the interests of Roma, many of which have been successful, "anti-Roma prejudice is still widespread, often even among the educated youth" (The Independent 19 Aug. 1998). According to Imre Furmann, NEKI executive director, however, "'the most important thing is that we exist.... People know there is somewhere they can turn with their problems'" (ibid.).

Please find attached to this Extended Response an excerpt from the NEKI annual report for 1997 entitled White Booklet 1997. The entire report, which provides in-depth analysis of many of the complaints (and corresponding reaction from authorities) received by NEKI in 1997, is available at the IRB's Ottawa Resource Centre and the Toronto Documentation Centre. The majority of cases investigated involve Romani claimants (NEKI 1997, 8).

The attached foreword to the NEKI report, written by noted Hungarian constitutional lawyer and authority on Roma-police relations István Szikinger, provides an overview of the nature of NEKI's work in 1997, including its successes and major obstacles impeding its work. Szikinger provides comment on Roma-police relations in Hungary, noting on page 11 both the potential and actual negative effects certain allegedly pro-Roma police programmes may have on the Romani community. Pages 75-77 of the annual report, also attached, contain a statistical review of complaints received by NEKI in 1997. In total, NEKI received 105 complaints in 1997; discrimination has been established in 27 of these cases. Of these 27 discriminatory cases, the alleged infringement of rights was caused by the police in 8 cases, local governments in 5 cases, local community groups in 4 cases, private individuals in 5 cases and others in 5 cases. Please see the NEKI attachment for further details.

According to a representative of the Minority Rights Ombudsman's office, there are crimes being tried currently as racially motivated under § 156 of the Hungarian Penal Code (25 Aug. 1998; also Barany 4 Aug. 1998). Barany also indicates that racial motivation clauses are being used effectively in Hungary; however, he believes the Justice Ministry should do more to encourage local courts to implement this clause more often.

Zoltan Barany believes that the police and judiciary are steadily improving the protection afforded to Roma in Hungary; he claims the situation is certainly better than it was 8 or 9 years ago. Barany acknowledges that some Roma are still reluctant to avail themselves of police protection as they believe police will not take their complaints or allegations seriously. This is particularly true in cases of minor injustices-some Roma will simply not bother to go to the police. According to Barany, however, in more serious cases they will usually seek assistance from police.

Despite recent improvements, Barany admits that at the lower or local court level Roma are more likely to encounter discrimination. Within the lower courts it is certainly possible that there are discriminatory judges; the population at large has very negative feelings toward the Roma, and therefore it is likely that some judges will share these views.

However, court officials have been reprimanded for allegedly discriminatory practices (Barany). According to Barany, some sources maintain that many judges have been issuing lighter than usual sentences to Roma for fear of possible reprimands for discriminatory anti-Romani sentencing. Barany believes there likely is some discrimination toward, or abuse of, Romani defendants in judicial hearings or by police while the Rom is in custody. He notes that while this is difficult to prove, some police officers have been fired for allegedly mistreating a Romani suspect.

Kovats states that,

the prohibition of the creation of public register based on ethnicity prevents the collection of data about the number of Roma processed through the courts or in prison etc. It is therefore impossible to measure the level of both direct and indirect discrimination. In addition, despite increased legal representation for Roma, Imre Furmann [executive director of the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI)] has noted that it is still much harder for Roma to obtain remedies when they are the victims of crimes or miscarriages of justice.

Cited by The Independent, Imre Furmann states that

the problem [of institutionalised prejudice directed against Roma people, particularly by the police] is not so much the senior police officers, who accept the need to change racist attitudes, but the policemen on the ground who have to implement new rules. "People's living standards have gone down and they need someone to blame. Roma are the classic scapegoat. The government has been forced to think about this because Hungary will join the European Union. They have set up initiatives against anti-Roma discrimination, and they accept the problem exists.... But they are too general and not properly implemented" (19 Aug. 1998).

Kovats calls the relationship between Hungary's justice system and the Romani community "complex and contradictory." By way of conclusion to the questions put to him by the Research Directorate, Kovats stated that the situation of Roma in Hungary is really a question

of whether a superficially positive discourse (based around minority rights) can outweigh the general tendency towards segregation and deprivation. Over the last eight years the picture is mixed, but as time goes by it is becoming increasingly obvious that there is little likelihood of many of these long-term (almost structural) problems being addressed effectively. Roma politics have proved ineffective in protecting the interests of Roma people and public consciousness has become less understanding. The current turn to the right in mainstream Hungarian politics at best promises little progress and at worst could prove particularly catastrophic if senior politicians seek to make Roma scapegoats for their own lack of success. In effect the medium to long-term situation depends upon developments connected with the European Union. It will not be sufficient for Hungary to gain entry, but entry must prove to be the saviour, which it has been promoted as. If this is not the case then it is likely that the reaction will be felt particularly hard by the Roma. Though the situation [of Roma in Hungary] is serious, it is not acute.


The procedures Hungarian passport holders must go through when transiting major European airports; whether Hungarian passengers would have their passports stamped when transiting these airports

        According to a representative of International Air Transport Association (IATA), under normal circumstances Hungarian citizens transiting a major European airport, such as London Heathrow, Frankfurt Main, Paris Charles de Gaulle or Zurich Airport, would not pass through customs or have their passports checked (6 Aug. 1998). However, passengers may have their passports checked under special or unusual circumstances.

Almost certainly, under normal circumstances, the passport of a Hungarian citizen would not be stamped when the individual transits a European airport. However, if a Hungarian citizen transits from one Schengen country to another Schengen country then s/he would certainly have to pass through passport and/or customs control and may have her/his passport stamped.

The Schengen Agreement came into force 26 March, 1995. It is an agreement between several member states of the European Union (EU), to remove immigration controls for travel within their collective territories. This creates a 'borderless' region, known as the 'Schengen Area' and therefore changes the procedures for entering or connecting in all of the Schengen States as well as for travelling between them. ... The countries currently party to the Schengen Agreement include: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain (TIM Aug. 1998, 13).

 Please see the attached excerpt from the IATA publication Travel Information Manual (TIM) for more specific details of the Schengen Agreement, including information on travel procedures and visa requirements for passengers travelling through and transiting Schengen countries.

In a 4 August 1998 interview an official of the German Embassy in Ottawa stated that a Hungarian citizen entering Germany for a period of less than three months (for travel or tourist purposes) does not require a visa. Therefore, according to the official, there is no obligation (or "strict rule") on the part of a German customs officer to stamp the passport of a Hungarian citizen entering Germany for less than three months. Whether the passport is stamped or not, however, depends upon the individual customs officer. The official went on to state that Hungarian citizens entering Germany by land would "most probably not" have their passports stamped at German customs and almost surely would not have their passports stamped if entering Germany from Austria.

Attempts by the Research Directorate to obtain similar information from other European countries were unsuccessful.

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Barany, Zoltan

        Dr. Zoltan Barany, a Hungarian-Canadian, is an Associate Professor of Government with the University of Texas at Austin. He has written extensively on East European politics, ethnic issues and Romani affairs. He is currently working on Pariahs and Politics, a book about regime change, ethnopolitics and the Roma of East/Central Europe. Dr. Barany's recent publications include: "Orphans of Transition: Gypsies in Eastern Europe" in Journal of Democracy (July 1998) and "Ethnic Mobilisation and the State: The Gypsies of Eastern Europe," in Ethnic and Racial Studies (March 1998).

Hungarian Helsinki Committee

        The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was founded in Budapest in 1989. HHC activities include the monitoring of Hungarian police and of pre-trial detention conditions throughout the country. The HHC has a Legal Clinic Project whose work is carried out in co-operation with the Constitutional and Legislative Policy Institute and the European Roma Rights Centre. A group of 30 third- and fourth-year law students-instructed by academics -work alongside six practising attorneys in providing free criminal defence for indigent criminal defendants and legal representation for illegal migrants awaiting expulsion in the cities of Budapest, Gyor and Szeged. The HHC also has a Human Rights Legal Counselling Office that has been in operation since January 1995. The Legal Counselling Office provides free legal aid and representation before authorities and courts to everyone whose human rights have been violated by the authorities. The HHC is a member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF or also IHFHR). The IHF is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to promote compliance of the participating States with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and its Follow-up Documents as well as their reference to international law. This information was taken from the IHR Website .

Kovats, Martin

        Mr. Kovats, recently a Research Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London, is currently engaged in an 18-month research project examining the minority self-government system in Hungary. Mr. Kovats' doctoral thesis (to be examined in October 1998) is entitled "The Development of Hungarian Roma Politics in Hungary 1989-95". His recent publications include: "Minority Self-Governments in Hungary: A Roma Perspective" in Slovo (Spring 1997), "Roma Politics and Minority Rights" in Ethnic Politics (forthcoming 1998) and "Roma and Minority Self-Governments in Hungary" in Surviving Post-Socialism: Gender, Ethnicity and Underclass in Eastern Europe and the Former USSR (1997).

Miklosi, Gábor - Roma Press Centre

        Gábor Miklosi is an officer with the international department of the Roma Press Centre (RPC). The Budapest-based Roma Press Centre is a non-governmental organisation that supplies news and information to the public on the situation of the Roma. The RPC was established in December 1995 with the objective of increasing the presence of the Roma in Hungarian mainstream media. Besides its basic functioning as a news agency for the major Hungarian dailies, the Roma Press Centre believes in the importance of increasing the presence of the Roma in all areas of the media, including popular media entities such as talk shows and tabloid newspapers. This information was taken from the RPC Website .

NEKI-Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities

        NEKI, established on 1 January 1994 by the Másság (Otherness) Foundation, is a Hungarian non-governmental organisation tasked with the role of protecting the rights of minorities. The Foundation, founded by social scientists and lawyers, functions as an operational framework supporting the Legal Defence Bureau. NEKI is independent of state authorities, political parties, other political organisations and other NGOs, but does cooperate with NGOs in order to better serve its clients. The priority issue facing NEKI is the protection of the rights of clients who have suffered discrimination on the grounds of their ethnic origin. This information was taken from the Website of the Roma Press Centre .

Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minority Rights

        The Parliamentary Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minorities, or the Minority Ombudsman, Dr. Jenõ Kaltenbach, was appointed by Parliament in 1995. According to the Ombudsman's 1997 report, the Hungarian constitution stipulates that the Ombudsman's task is to examine national and ethnic offences, or have them examined, and initiate general or unique commands for their prosecution. The Ombudsman is permitted to examine all cases and command any authority with the exception of courts.


               Barany, Zoltan. Austin, Texas. 4 August 1998. Telephone interview.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ottawa. 4 August 1998. Telephone interview with official.

Hungarian Helsinki Committee. 14 September 1998. Correspondence.

The Independent [London]. 19 August 1998. Adam LeBor. "European Times-Battle to Save Gypsies from the Forces of Law and Order." [Internet] <> [Accessed 19 Aug. 1998]

International Air Transport Agency (IATA), Montréal. 6 August 1998. Telephone interview with representative of IATA Facilitation Office.

Kovats, Martin. Budapest. 16 August 1998. Correspondence.

Miklosi, Gábor. Budapest. 7 September 1998. Correspondence.

_____. 7 August 1998. Correspondence.

_____. 4 August 1998. Correspondence.

Ministry of Interior (MOI), Budapest. 10 June 1998. Dr. Klára Csányi, police lieutenant-colonel, associate of the Department of Order-Keeping of the MOI. Overview on the Practices of Handling Minority Affairs by the Police in Hungary. English translation sent to the Research Directorate by an official of the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa.

NEKI-Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities. 1997. White Booklet 1997. Budapest: NEKI & Osiris Publishing House.

Népszabadság [Budapest]. 17-18 July 1998. Szilvia Varró. "Is One a Criminal, the Other Aggressive: The Roma-Police Dialogue has Started in Nógrád." English translation sent to the Research Directorate by an official of the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa.

Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minority Rights, Budapest. Correspondence.

Roma Press Centre (RPC). 4 August 1998. "Parliamentary Commissioner: Job Advertisement that Excludes Roma is Unlawful." [Internet] [Accessed 14 Sept. 1998]

Travel Information Manual (TIM) [Amsterdam]. August 1998. "Schengen States."


    Ministry of Interior (MOI), Budapest. 10 June 1998. Dr. Klára Csányi, police lieutenant-colonel, associate of the Department of Order-Keeping of the MOI. Overview on the Practices of Handling Minority Affairs by the Police in Hungary, pp. 1-8.

NEKI-Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities. 1997. White Booklet 1997. Budapest: NEKI & Osiris Publishing House, pp. 5-12, 75-77.

Népszabadság [Budapest]. 17-18 July 1998. Szilvia Varró. "Is One a Criminal, the Other Aggressive: The Roma-Police Dialogue has Started in Nógrád." English translation sent to the Research Directorate by representative of the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa.

Travel Information Manual (TIM) [Amsterdam]. August 1998. "Schengen States," pp. 11, 13.


1 Kovats notes, however, that there are a number of smaller linguistic and cultural sub-groups of Roma living in Hungary.

2 Please see HUN29826.EX of 20 August 1998 for information on the May 1998 parliamentary elections and the Hungarian Justice and Life Party.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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