MINELRES: ERRC: Court Punishes Disco for Denying Entrance to Roma
Fri Aug 26 17:05:20 2005
Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Popular Budapest Club Fined for Affront to Dignity of Roma
Budapest, 26 August 2005. In a case brought by the ERRC together with
local counsel, a Budapest court has awarded damages to two Romani men after
they were barred from entrance to the discotheque Zold Pardon, a popular
local nightclub. The decision is final and binding.
The facts of the case are as follows:
On 14 September 2002, two Romani men, Balint Vadaszi and Istvan Vadaszi,
accompanied by two women tried to enter a popular open air club called
Zold Pardon in Budapest. The two women - one of them Romani, both had
white skin - entered the club easily, whereas the two men with dark skin
were asked to provide identity documents. The two men asked for an
explanation as to why they were being refused entrance, because in the
meanwhile, they saw many young people entering the place without being asked
for identity papers. However, even after one of the men had identified himself,
the two plaintiffs were not allowed to enter the club and they ultimately left
On the basis of the witness testimonies and the recorded video evidence, a
lawsuit was filed in which violations of personal rights were alleged,
based on the infringement of the right to equal treatment, as regulated
i.e. by Article 76 of the Hungarian Civil Code, as well as by Articles
2(1) of Convention for Elimination of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination.
The case was brought prior to the adoption by the Hungarian legislature, in
December 2003 of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.
A first instance court refused the complaint on 16 September 2004. However,
on appeal, on 25 August 2005, the Budapest City Court held that the Zold
Pardon Ltd. and the Doorman-Sec Ltd. operating the Zold Pardon Club in
Budapest, violated the plaintiffs' right to dignity. The court did not
find an infringement of the requirement of equal treatment based on racial
discrimination, apparently because Hungary's anti-discrimination law had
not yet been adopted at the time the incident took place. The judge
however stated that security guards are not entitled to check the identity
documents of prospective guests, a key finding with implications for
The court awarded 100,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 400 EUR) in
non-pecuniary damages to each of the victims. Zold Pardon Ltd. and
Doorman-Sec Ltd. were further ordered to refrain from further violations,
and were ordered to send a letter of apology to the two Romani men within
15 days. The decision is legally binding. The plaintiffs were represented
by local counsel Bea Bodrogi as part of the European Roma Rights Centre
Legal Defence program.
For further information on the case, please contact Bea Bodrogi at
+36-1-303-8973 (email@example.com) and/or ERRC Legal Monitor Rita Izsák at
The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal defence
in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European
Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at http://www.errc.org.
European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax: +36 1 4132201
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