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Hungary: Human rights review 2015

Key human rights events, reports and European court cases affecting Hungary, in this 2015 review.

January

Anti-torture experts warn Hungary and other member states not to take action against whistleblowing public officials or detainees who denounce ill-treatment. In its annual report, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) states that common reprisal measures include “restrictions on basic entitlements, solitary confinement for fabricated disciplinary or security reasons, placement in worse conditions of detention, withdrawal of support for early release, assault and other kinds of ill-treatment.”

The CPT reveals ‘pay-back’ cases in Hungary, aswell as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Spain, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine.

March

A new report reveals that national authorities have failed to comply fully with most of the anti-corruption improvements suggested by Council of Europe experts. The Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) Third Round Compliance Report on Hungary, concludes that the country has “implemented satisfactorily, or dealt with in a satisfactory manner, in total, six of the fifteen recommendations.

Widespread overcrowding in Hungarian detention facilities are highlighted in the complaints Varga and Others v. Hungary (application nos. 14097/12, 45135/12, 73712/12, 34001/13, 44055/13, and 64586/13).

The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) read in conjunction with Article 3 of the Convention.

Human rights judges say Hungary should take measures against widespread prison overcrowding.

May

The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) publish their first report country report and urge national authorities to pay closer attention to the problem of internal trafficking.

June

A report published by the Parliamentary Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, cites Hungary as one of the countries to ignore close to 11,000 European Court judgements. Almost 80 per cent of the backlog was from only nine states – Italy, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria – where “deep-seated structural problems often generate repeat cases.”

During the same month,constitutional law experts urge greater media independence.

July

A Grand Chamber hearing takes place into human rights complaints brought by opposition MPs, finded for disrupting parliament with anti-government banners.

A new report urges Hungary to take action against corruption in its legislative, judiciary and government prosecution sectors.

August

Hurrah! Hungary ratifies the Council of Europe’s treaty protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

September

In a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Secretary General Jagland writes: “I am concerned about a series of recent amendments to legislation in Hungary which will, among other things, allow the government to declare a ‘state of crisis’ caused by mass immigration.”

The human rights commissioner is also concerned about how the country is coping with the arrival of refugees. Nils Muižnieks declares that Hungary’s stance is “deeply regrettable.” Posting on his Facebook page, he states: “Hungary, as all European countries, has an obligation to provide protection to those who need it, regardless of their religion or any other personal trait.”

November

The Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, returns from his country visit to declare that regarding refugees, Hungary has not lived up to its international reposnibilities.

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