The government has acknowledged the right of Roma children earlier segregated in a school in Gyöngyöspata, in northern Hungary, to compensation, a state secretary at the human resources ministry said on Friday, but added the over 60 children should be offered “education, rather than cash”.
Bence Rétvári insisted that the children would benefit more from this form of compensation, and it would not harm “people’s sense of justice”.
An apellate court in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, recently ruled that the municipality of Gyöngyöspata and the school authority should pay a total of 100 million forints (EUR 300,000) to the plaintiffs before January 17.
Rétvári told the press conference “the government seeks to provide assistance which could compensate for the harms suffered earlier” aimed at helping the children to marketable skills.
The children would benefit from “language, IT, and vocational courses” as well as from assistance to integrate with society and “process the trauma” they suffered, he added.
The state secretary suggested that if the children are compensated in cash “they may or may not” spend it on educational purposes. He insisted that “cash will not resolve a social issue but increase tension” between Roma and non-Roma groups.
Rétvári criticised the foundation that represented the children in court for “neglecting the educational aspects and focusing on money”. The foundation, “backed by George Soros”, sought “political gains” and aimed at “ruining Hungary’s reputation” through charges of segregation, he insisted.