Hungary is a country of poignant contradictions – a case study in the challenges of contemporary human rights. Located at the heart of what was once Nazi-occupied Europe, Budapest now boasts an exciting renaissance of Jewish life. Ruled by a communist dictatorship from 1947, riven by a failed democratic revolution in 1956, Hungary became a republic in 1989. But recent political trends have raised serious concerns about a move back towards repressive and anti-democratic policies.
In May, the René Cassin-AJA Fellowship Programme visited Budapest to meet with local Jewish activists working with those most affected by that rising repression. We learned about Jewish life and social action in Budapest, and the trip shone a spotlight on Hungary’s Roma community.
The highlights of the trip? One Fellow said “Hard to pick as it was all great really. I think I learned so much from meeting with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Very useful to hear the perspective of a frontline defender and especially informative for me as I’m particularly interested in human rights of refugees.”
Another: “The opportunity to meet and talk with Hungarian Jewish and Roma community activists: learning about the challenges faced by both communities and also the efforts being taken to challenge stereotypes.”
Read the full programme itinerary below or download it here.