Friday, August 31, 2012


PRESS RELEASE from the Roma Community Centre


Hero's Square - Budapest, Hungary

Saturday August 25, 2012


On August 25, 2012, the Hungarian Guards, paramilitary arm of the Jobbik political party, celebrated their five year anniversary with a march through downtown Budapest, and a rally at the infamous Hero's Square. Jobbik, an extreme right wing ultra nationalist political party, which openly expresses hatred and promotes violence toward the Roma and Jewish minorities in Hungary, is currently the second largest political party operating in Hungary.

Many of the small cities, towns, and villages in Hungary, especially where there is a significant concentration of Roma living, now have mayors and city councillors that are members of the Jobbik party. In 2009, when the Hungarian government made a move to ban the Hungarian Guards, Jobbik political party leader, Mr. Gabor Vona, taunted Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the ruling Fidez party by wearing the banned Hungarian Guards uniform to the Hungarian National Assembly the very next day. He was applauded by the 47 Jobbik (21%) Members of Parliament.

This past Saturday, thousands of uniformed Hungarian Guards carrying the Arrow Cross flag of the WWII Hungarian Nazis marched up Andrassy Utca, the street famous for its international embassies, toward the landmark Hero’s Square in central Budapest. Roma Community Centre’s executive director, Gina Csanyi-Robah, said, “this was comparable to 10,000 Klu Klux Klan members carrying the Confederation Flag up University Avenue in downtown Toronto to a mass gathering at Queen’s Park. How could you be an African Canadian and not feel that your personal safety was being threatened, especially when the country does nothing to intervene? Thankfully, in Canada, this would be considered enticing hate and dealt with as overt hate crime rather than an expression of freedom of speech or freedom to assembly.”

“Quite interestingly, in Hungary the human rights of groups that promote hatred are protected more than the victims of hatred, said Csanyi-Robah. She went on to say that she was astonished that “the largest gathering of neo-Nazi’s since World War II took place in Budapest, Hungary and it was not addressed at all by the Canadian government who are staunch supporters of the Canadian Jewish Community.” In fact, on November 4, 2012, at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy Degree by Haifa University in Israel for his tremendous work in Holocaust commemorations and education initiatives.

So, why then is the Canadian government remaining boldly silent about a group of 10,000 neo-Nazi’s who call themselves the Hungarian Guards, whom happen to be the paramilitary arm of the Jobbik political party? Are Hungarian Jews not as important to advocate for as Israeli Jews? According to Csanyi-Robah, she is certain that the government’s three years of silence is a “censorship of the truth so that Canadians will continue believing that Hungary is a safe and democratic European country for the Roma minority”.

Unfortunately, for the four years that Romani refugees have sought asylum in Canada, there has yet to be an accurate glimpse into the reality of what is taking place in Hungary, Czech Republic, or Slovakia. As a result, “many Canadians have been led to falsely believe that a visit to the dentist or doctor, or a $550.00 welfare cheque is more important than raising your child in safety without the constant sense of shame, endemic racism and discrimination, and the ominous threat of violence with no one to turn to for help in countries where the state has oppressed them for centuries, or participated in their annihilation” said Csanyi-Robah.

Perhaps, one day Prime Minister Stephan Harper and Minister Jason Kenney will remember to include the estimated 1,500,000 Roma who were murdered during the Holocaust in their commemoration speeches. As for today, you can rest assured that the Hungarian government is breathing a hugh sigh of relief that the Canadian government continues to ignore the growing threat that they are unable to control in their country. Will the Canadian media pay attention?

For more information, please contact Gina Csanyi-Robah, at (416) 561-0770 or

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