MINELRES: ERRC: UN Women's Discrimination Committee Reviews Hungary

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Jul 9 19:24:57 2007

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

UN Women's Discrimination Committee Reviews Hungary 

Budapest, 3 July 2007: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has
submitted a parallel report to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which at its 39th
session later this month will review Hungary’s compliance with the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women. The ERRC’s report highlights areas of
concern with regard to the situation of Romani women in Hungary.

The report is based on extensive primary research by a team of ERRC
Romani and non-Romani women who visited Romani communities in Budapest,
Miskolc (northeastern Hungary) and Pecs (southwestern Hungary) in March
and April 2007, interviewing 124 Romani women. Combined with a review of
the current data available on the situation of Romani women, the
research revealed widespread discrimination and disadvantages for
Hungarian Roma, and Romani women in particular. As victims of multiple
discrimination, Romani women experience barriers in accessing equal
education, health care and adequate housing, as well as facing high
unemployment levels, and experiencing barriers in accessing justice
through administrative or institutional channels. 

Some of the most pressing issues addressed in the report include:

Violence against Women: 42% of the women that responded to questions in
this area had suffered or currently suffer from domestic abuse. Only 20%
of these women had contacted the police, and in only 1 case did the
police respond effectively. Romani women also noted a climate of mutual
distrust between the police and their community, as well as a general
inability to access legal remedies. In some cases, police officers
blatantly ignored the requests of abused women who sought help. 

Education: Though Roma in general have lower levels of educational
attainment than the majority population in Hungary, the education
attainment levels of Romani women are even lower. Those Romani girls who
do overcome pervasive barriers to accessing education (such as extreme
poverty and early childbirth) face ridicule, physical and verbal abuse,
and often receive a lower quality of education. Further, Romani girls
are disproportionately placed in schools for the mentally disabled or
segregated classes due to administrative bias.

Unemployment: Romani women face higher rates of unemployment than both
the general population and Romani men, due to a combination of childcare
responsibilities and widespread discrimination by employers. Sixty-two
percent of the respondents were unemployed; over 1 in 5 reported direct
discrimination on the basis of their gender and/or ethnicity during the
application process, including outright acknowledgments by employers of
a blanket policy to refuse jobs to all Roma.

Health Care: Romani individuals have a life expectancy 10 years less
than the average in Hungary. Many Romani women reported being unable to
access medical care due to newly implemented “visiting fees”, which are
unaffordable due to high levels of poverty. In addition, Romani women
experience segregation and substandard care in maternity wards,
extortion and discrimination by health care professionals, and several
instances of forced sterilisation were documented.

In addition to the human rights concerns noted above, the report also
highlights problems related to the extremely substandard housing
situation of Romani women, concerns about the over-representation of
Romani children in state child care facilities in Hungary and the
over-representation of Romani women in the Hungarian prison system. 

The full text of the ERRC’s parallel report is available on the Internet
at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2136 ..

The report was prepared with financial assistance from the Hungarian
National Civil Foundation.

For more information, please contact:

Ostalinda Maya Ovalle, ERRC Women’s Rights Officer:
Tara Bedard, ERRC Projects Manager: tara.bedard@errc.org 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation 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 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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