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Hungarian Press Roundup: Supreme Court Upholds Compensation for Segregated Roma

Hungary Today 2020.05.14.

Pro-government commentators scorn the Kúria (the Hungarian Supreme Court) for upholding the cash compensation for the mostly Roma children who were taught in separate classrooms in the municipality of Gyöngyöspata in northern Hungary. A left-wing philosopher welcomes the decision which he interprets as a victory in the battle against racism.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

Background information: in its final verdict in the Gyöngyöspata school segregation lawsuit, the Kúria ruled that the 99 million Forints compensation due to the families of the 66 mostly Roma children cannot be replaced with services and other non-monetary benefits. Fidesz MP László Horváth, who also serves as the Prime Minister’s appointee overseeing conflictual minority-majority relations, called the verdict unjust and said that the government will amend the laws to ensure that children who do not get proper quality education will get compensation in kind rather than cash.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsolt Bayer finds the Kúria’s judgement outrageous and counterproductive. The pro-government columnist believes that Roma families will spend most of the cash compensation on food and alcohol, and as a result will become violent and harass non-Roma locals. Bayer thinks that offering cash payments to those he labels ‘aggressive anti-social people’ is a tragic mistake that does not help at all to lift poor Roma out of poverty.

Pesti Srácok’s Tamás Pilhál goes so far as to call for ‘halting judiciary criminality’. The pro-government pundit lambasts the Kúria for offering financial compensation to families whose children did not attend school regularly, and if they did, were often involved in troublemaking. Pilhál also finds it absurd that schools offering catch-up classes designed for disadvantaged children were found guilty of segregation. He adds that some of the children in these putatively ethnically segregated classes were non-Roma. Pilhál accuses judges who hand down such a verdict of ‘protecting criminals and ignoring justice, morality as well as the victims’. Pilhál goes on to accuse the NGOs that initiated the court proceeding of being the mercenaries of George Soros. He concludes by labeling George Soros and his allies terrorists who should be considered as a national security threat in Hungary.

On Mérce, Gáspár Miklós Tamás welcomes the decision which, according to the Marxist philosopher, defends the rights of the Roma and rejects racism. Tamás notes that the ruling is a slap in the face for those ‘racists’ who favor segregation and oppose compensation for segregated Roma families. He adds that as the verdict shows, courts still have some independence in Hungary. As for the implications of the verdict, Tamás hopes that after the Kúria’s ruling, segregation can no longer be practiced in Hungary.

Featured photo by Péter Komka/MTI