Government officials laid wreaths at the graves of two victims of anti-Roma attacks in Tatarszentgyorgy, central Hungary, on Wednesday evening.
Robert Csorba, 27, and his five-year-old son Robika were killed by gunshots as they were trying to escape from their Molotov-cocktailed house on February 23, 2009. The family’s 6-year-old daughter suffered serious injuries.
The murder was part of a series of brutal attacks targeting Roma and carried out in central and eastern Hungarian villages between July 2008 and August 2009. The attacks claimed the lives of six Roma people and seriously injured five others.
“Three years ago a child died in Hungary just because he was Roma,” state secretary of social inclusion and Roma affairs Zoltan Balog said in a statement.
Victims should be protected whether they happened to be children, the elderly, guilty or innocent, Roma or non-Roma, Hungarians or non-Hungarians, and the perpetrators should be convicted, he added.
Four suspects accused of having committed the crimes were taken into custody in August 2009. Their trial is still under way.
The victims of the Tatarszentgyorgy murder will also be remembered by Roma organisations and public personalities later today.
Meanwhile in Toronto, Canada, around 200 people held a candle-light remembrance and voiced concern over the expected tightening of Canadian refugee rules, organisers told MTI late on Wednesday.
“This is not a protest; rather it is the community’s response to how the Canadian government is treating Roma refugees, as well as the expected tightening of Canada’s asylum law,” Gina Csanyi-Robah, head of Toronto’s Roma Community Centre, told MTI’s Washington correspondent by phone.
Several left-wing and liberal politicians from Ontario also participated in the demonstration.
“It is important that Canadian public opinion sees us exactly as we are, and sees what these people’s fate is, why they came here and what kind of efforts they are making in Canada,” co-organiser, Aladar Horvath, head of the Civil-Rights Movement for a Republic association, said. He added it was important that Roma should be capable of acting together in the face of “the danger of genocide”.
The results of an investigation have shown that a total of 78 shots were fired at nine different locations and Molotov cocktails were thrown at seven homes during the spate of attacks targeting the Roma. The attacks killed six Roma people, including a five-year-old child and seriously injured five others, including another child. The investigators said the suspects had endangered the safety of 55 people altogether.