Head of the National Roma Self-Government (OCO) blamed parties in parliament for the anti-Roma sentiments experienced lately in Hungary at a press conference held in Budapest on Thursday.
Orban Kolompar was speaking in response to a debate in the press over the past few months about the existence of "Gypsy crime" or whether the ethnic background of criminals should be noted in connection with crime. The issue flared up again when suspects of the stabbing of international handball players last weekend were said to be part of or associated with a gang of Roma criminals. Police have not found evidence for this connection, but they did take testimonies from witnesses and former gang associates which suggested a link.
The government has disassociated itself from the use of the term "Gypsy crime" and for membership of an ethnic minority to be singled out in crime statistics.
Kolompar said parties have been noncommittal about the problems of the Roma and were partly responsible for a collective blame for crimes on the Roma community. He added that they have done nothing to help the Roma create a credible political representation for dealing with important economic and social problems among their community.
Kolompar called on the Roma to think about how they see the next ten years for themselves.
He said the remarks by opposition leader Viktor Orban on Wednesday regarding Roma and crime were unfortunate.
Orban said there was no "Gypsy crime" but there were criminals that belong to the Roma minority and the serious crimes committed by Roma was on the rise, which cannot be ignored.
Kolompar asked the help of the media in "creating a normal human atmosphere which focuses primarily on the person, not political interests."
He said parties should support a Roma programme, to be designed by OCO, which would help bring about peace in society. He added that there were plans for a three-way agreement between the OCO, police and the National Association of Civil Self-Defence to train 3,000 Roma and non-Roma civil self-defence personnel as well as social workers to help improve communication among citizens.