Hungary’s MEP Viktoria Mohacsi received the International Women of Courage Award for 2009 in Budapest on Tuesday.
The award was handed over by US Ambassador to Hungary April H. Foley in recognition of Mohacsi’s efforts for the Roma minority all over Europe and her fight against aggression, segregation and stereotypes.
At the award ceremony at Budapest’s Central European University, Mohacsi, herself a Roma, said that she believed in the possibility of a peaceful co-existence between Roma and non-Roma, but added that the situation in Hungary did not support that belief. “We have to face the revival of Nazi ideology, racism, petrol bombs thrown at homes and harmless people being murdered,” she said.
The International Women of Courage Award was founded by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2007 and is given to women fighting for freedom, social justice and peace.
Declines to run for re-election
Meanwhile, on Tuesday Mohacsi told MTI that she has withdrawn from running in the June European Parliamentary elections.
Mohacsi, a Roma rights advocate said she stepped back because she wanted to dedicate her efforts to fighting the segregation of Roma children in schools in Hungary and to help Roma families who had been targeted in a series of attacks in the past months.
She said that efforts of Free Democrat mayors in some twenty towns and cities must be intensified to eliminate segregation in local schools.
Mohacsi has been a MEP since December 2004.