Members of the Roma community are facing ever-increasing discrimination. Hate speech against Roma people in public places such as supermarkets and hairdressers is rampant, and less and less people have the courage to openly speak up for the members of the Roma community.
Members of the LGBTQI community are also under double threat: the Hungarian Government openly advocates a heterosexual family unit, making it impossible to broaden LGBTQI couples’ rights and ignoring basic individual human rights. This stance also encourages self-appointed protectors of “healthy morals” who compel members of the LGBTQI community to hide their sexual orientation.
Photo: German Embassy via kormany.hu, Merkel and Orbán meet in Berlin in 2014
The Working Group Against Hate, a conglomerate of five Hungarian NGOs that have been working together since 2012 to step up against hate rimes more effectively, recently collected individual cases where members of minorities were the victims of hate crimes. The data put forward in their chart confirms and illustrates that members of all the above mentioned communities are under enormous threat in Hungary. We hold Viktor Orbán responsible for not decreasing this threat, instead exacerbating the situation by letting these minorities be presented as the source of Hungary’s problems and by recently himself presenting the migrants as a threat to Hungary’s well-being. We would like to emphasize that the Hungarian Government is manipulating the Hungarians by making them believe that the source of their problems is “the others”.
This line of thinking is dangerously similar to the one that finally led to the extermination of millions of Jews, Roma, LGBTQI-people, and foreigners some decades ago during the Holocaust. Sadly, Viktor Orbán openly places the responsibility for the death of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian citizens on the shoulders of the German Nazi’s. If Orbán listened to universally acclaimed historians (with and without Jewish origins) and not only his will to power, he would not try to hide that those German Nazi soldiers were amazed by the enthusiasm with which our Hungarian people, our grandfathers and grandmothers were aiding the deportation and killing of their neighbours.
Millions of people in the world are still persecuted due to for example their race, nationality, political views, sexual identity, or religion. But not only they feel forced to migrate from their countries of origin, but also those fleeing from famine or an otherwise destitute life. The MigSzol Group believes that German society has a better understanding of the sufferings of the persecuted and of the forced migrants than Hungarian society. One of the reasons for this better understanding is that the post-Holocaust leaders of Germany were more responsible in facing the sins of their own people. The post-Holocaust leaders of Hungary never had the courage to make us Hungarians, face our sins. Viktor Orbán is the most cowardly in the long line of prime ministers that denied Hungary’s complicity, for he is the one who in the middle of the night erected a monument telling us that we are not responsible for the death of our neighbours.
Over the past years, Orbán and his Minister of Interior have stated numerous times that they do not want refugees in Hungary. Orbán only recently corrected himself by declaring that migrants are a problem but that refugees are welcome. Let us not fall for this rhetorical trap: it is a lie that even refugees are welcomed by the Hungarian authorities. Many members of society welcome refugees to our country, but these people do not have the power to make the lives of refugees more dignified: to give them access to decent housing, to make it easier for them to study at Hungarian universities, or to give them a real chance on the job market. More and more people that leave Hungary because of this are being protected by courts in Germany. Because let us remind Chancellor Merkel that many people who already got refugee status in Hungary apply for asylum again in Germany, and that many German judges do not deport them back to Hungary because they see a real risk that they would face the horrible combination of xenophobia, homelessness and destitution in Hungary.
We call on Chancellor Merkel to keep the misery of all of the above mentioned communities in mind when meeting Orban, and hope that the German Chancellor will not sacrifice the opportunity to speak about Orban's injustices against so many for the sake of a sterile understanding of European consensus more akin to guilty silence.