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COE CALLS ON HUNGARY TO IMPROVE ROMA ACCESS TO EDUCATION, HOUSING, HEALTH CARE

 

The Council of Europe (CoE) has called on Hungary to improve the Roma minority’s access to education, jobs, housing and health care, and to eliminate the difficulties they experience in all aspects of public life. The advisory committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visited Hungary in December 2019. In the report written on the findings of the visit, the body urged immediate action to reduce drop-out rates in schools and to promote inclusive, high-quality education, and called for a comprehensive training programme for teachers in disadvantaged regions.
A comprehensive policy would also be necessary to address housing issues among the Roma, the report said, adding that government-owned housing projects and housing support should be boosted significantly. Disadvantaged regions in Hungary, where the Roma are over-represented, suffer from poor health-care services, the report said. Patients and health-care employees should be educated regarding anti-discrimination laws, it said. The committee praised the parliamentary representation of ethnic minorities in Hungary, and noted that minority-related cultural events enjoyed growing funding in the past five years. The committee proposed that minority representatives should be involved in the planning and distribution of funding. Meanwhile, the committee bemoaned a “pervasive atmosphere of intolerance in the political discourse and the media”, which they said hindered minorities’ free expression of opinion. The report called on the authorities to promote tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and mutual respect, while condemning racist and discriminatory language in the public sphere.