Updated: Opposition Parties Mark International Romani Day in Hungary

  • 12 Apr 2023 9:08 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Updated: Opposition Parties Mark International Romani Day in Hungary
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) and LMP parties on Saturday marked International Romani Day, hailing Roma culture and calling for respect for the community.

Roma culture has been making Hungarian and European cultures, languages and history more diverse for centuries, DK said in a statement, calling it a “universal and inalienable component of Hungarian and European culture”.

DK called for making room for the Roma community to express its dual identity with pride. “We cannot build a welcoming society, we cannot tear down institutionalised anti-Roma sentiment without mutually respecting each other, which requires that we view the Roma people as assets and a part of our society and social heritage,” the party said.

LMP’s parliamentary group said all ethnic groups were equal parts of the Hungarian nation, emphasising that the identity of the Roma community made Hungary stronger and richer.

The government has a duty to do everything in its power to give the Roma people a chance to preserve their culture and to ensure equality for the community in all aspects of life, they said in a statement.

International Romani Day “reminds us that we must accept each other’s differences and respect dignity in every single person, because everyone is equally valuable and important”, LMP said.

Budapest Mayor Marks International Romani Day

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony on Saturday said his administration had displayed the Romani flag on the facade of City Hall in honour of International Romani Day.

International Romani Day raises awareness of both the Roma community’s rich culture and difficult social situation, Karácsony said on Facebook.

“Budapest belongs to everyone, which means it is also home to all of our Roma compatriots,” the mayor said, adding that “unfortunately, many of them live in deep poverty.”

“Our job is to help them break out of it and make sure they do not suffer any discrimination at job interviews, when renting a flat or on the tram,” Karácsony said. Prejudices are always based on ignorance, the mayor said, underlining the importance of being open to learning about the Roma community’s history, culture and values.

The Budapest city council devotes special attention to helping the city’s Roma community, Karácsony said, noting that the Romano Kher Roma cultural centre will soon move to a new refurbished location.

He also highlighted a mentoring scheme launched by the city council aimed at helping young Roma people pursue a career in civil service and the Romaversitas Foundation’s leadership training programme.

Interior Ministry Official Presents Awards To Mark Intl Romani Day

Marking International Romani Day, Attila Fülöp, the interior ministry’s state secretary, presented the Balázs János Award to three people at a ceremony in the ministry.

Addressing the event, Fülöp said that the career achieved by the award’s recipients sends the message “to us all that catching up with mainstream society is the result of hard work”.

“It is the result not of their personal individual fight, but of teamwork,” he said, adding that “this teamwork” was also supported by the government through the network of community houses and vocational training schools set up for Roma children and youth across the country.

This year’s award recipients include Ernő Báder, the national art director of the Maltese Symphony Programme of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, János Boda, production manager at the Roma Production Office, and Éva Balogh Molnár, teacher at the Arany János Primary School of Karcag.

The Balázs János Award is given since 2019 mostly to Roma people in recognition of their outstanding achievements in promoting Roma education and culture and advancing the social inclusion of disadvantaged people.

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