MINELRES: ERRC: Court Punishes Disco for Denying Entrance to Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Aug 26 17:05:20 2005

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org> 

Popular Budapest Club Fined for Affront to Dignity of Roma

Budapest, 26 August 2005. In a case brought by the ERRC together with
local counsel, a Budapest court has awarded damages to two Romani men after
they were barred from entrance to the discotheque Zold Pardon, a popular 
local nightclub. The decision is final and binding.

The facts of the case are as follows:

On 14 September 2002, two Romani men, Balint Vadaszi and Istvan Vadaszi, 
accompanied by two women tried to enter a popular open air club called
Zold Pardon in Budapest. The two women - one of them Romani, both had 
white skin ­- entered the club easily, whereas the two men with dark skin
were asked to provide identity documents. The two men asked for an 
explanation as to why they were being refused entrance, because in the 
meanwhile, they saw many young people entering the place without being asked 
for identity papers. However, even after one of the men had identified himself, 
the two plaintiffs were not allowed to enter the club and they ultimately left
the premises.

On the basis of the witness testimonies and the recorded video evidence, a 
lawsuit was filed in which violations of personal rights were alleged, 
based on the infringement of the right to equal treatment, as regulated 
i.e. by Article 76 of the Hungarian Civil Code, as well as by Articles
2(1) of Convention for Elimination of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination. 
The case was brought prior to the adoption by the Hungarian legislature, in 
December 2003 of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.

A first instance court refused the complaint on 16 September 2004. However, 
on appeal, on 25 August 2005, the Budapest City Court held that the Zold 
Pardon Ltd. and the Doorman-Sec Ltd. operating the Zold Pardon Club in 
Budapest, violated the plaintiffs' right to dignity. The court did not
find an infringement of the requirement of equal treatment based on racial 
discrimination, apparently because Hungary's anti-discrimination law had 
not yet been adopted at the time the incident took place. The judge
however stated that security guards are not entitled to check the identity 
documents of prospective guests, a key finding with implications for
future cases.

The court awarded 100,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 400 EUR) in 
non-pecuniary damages to each of the victims. Zold Pardon Ltd. and 
Doorman-Sec Ltd. were further ordered to refrain from further violations, 
and were ordered to send a letter of apology to the two Romani men within 
15 days. The decision is legally binding. The plaintiffs were represented 
by local counsel Bea Bodrogi as part of the European Roma Rights Centre 
Legal Defence program.

For further information on the case, please contact Bea Bodrogi at 
+36-1-303-8973 (bbodrogi@yahoo.com) and/or ERRC Legal Monitor Rita Izsák at 
+36-1-413-2243 (rita.izsak@errc.org).

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law 
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal defence 
in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European 
Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax: +36 1 4132201


The European Roma Rights Centre is dependent upon the generosity of 
individual donors for its continued existence. If you believe the ERRC 
performs a service valuable to the public, please join in enabling its 
future with a contribution. Gifts of all sizes are welcome; bank
are preferred. Please send your contribution to:

European Roma Rights Centre
Budapest Bank Rt.
1054 Budapest
Bathory utca 1

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