The Curia of Hungary ruled in favour of Romani people who have sued the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Hospital for discrimination against Romani people. The case has been prolonged for years, but the final verdict is here.
This case started around 2018 when the Maternity Ward of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Hospital in Miskolc decided to make it mandatory for relatives accompanying women in labour to wear disposable hygienic clothing. This clothing could only be purchased at the hospital which many Romani families could not afford due to its relatively high price.
The hospital claimed that they only asked for a donation in exchange for providing the relatives with the disposable hygienic clothing. Still, it later turned out that this “donation” was very much mandatory. Now, the Curia ruled in favour of Romani people who have accused the Maternity Ward at Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Hospital of discriminating against Romani women and their families, Index reports. The Curia of Hungary is the highest judicial authority in Hungary.
During the legal process, Romani people were represented by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), a Roma-led international public interest law organisation, who are to combat anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma through strategic litigation, research and policy development, advocacy and human rights education.
In a public statement, ERRC wrote that on 26 August 2020, the Curia of Hungary ruled that the hospital’s practice of only providing disposable hygienic clothing to the relatives accompanying women in labour for money constituted discrimination against Romani people.
The Curia agrees with the ERRC’s previous argument that the hospital discriminated directly on the basis of wealth, social origin and maternity and pregnancy as a protected characteristic, and it indirectly discriminated against Romani mothers who were disproportionately affected by the provision and therefore they were often forced to give birth alone. The court ordered the termination of this practice and fined the hospital for 7,873 Euros (two million forints) in the public interest.