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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Wednesday, 11 May 2011 (Morning)

Country under review: HUNGARY
 
Documents: The national report A/HRC/WG.6/11/HUN/1;
Compilation of UN information A/HRC/WG.6/11/HUN/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information A/HRC/WG.6/11/HUN/3;

Troika: France, Gabon, and Ukraine

Concerned country - national report

- Represented by a 13 member delegation and headed by his Excellency Mr. Zoltan Balog, Minister of State for Social Inclusion, Ministry of Public Administration and Justice.

Opening statements

- The UPR is a unique instrument to review the human rights records of UN Member States.
- In 2008, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an annual series of international conferences called the Budapest Human Rights Forum to address human rights issues, including the situation of human rights defenders, genocide prevention, and the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council.
- Hungary has consulted the civil society and other stakeholders in preparing for the UPR.
- The adoption of a new Constitution by the Hungarian Parliament on 18 April, 2011 represents a milestone in the history of the development of the rule of law in Hungary.
- The new Constitution introduces a “real constitutional right to complaint”.
- The Government is willing to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
- Hungary recognizes thirteen national and ethnic minorities; including the Roma people who represent the largest minority group in the country.
- Hungary has been addressing the situation of the Roma through laws and action plans adopted by the Parliament and the Government.
- The Government has launched a development program for the 33 most disadvantaged micro-regions.
- Extremist groups have re-emerged as a result of inadequate public security in areas inhabited by Roma and non-Roma populations.
- Human rights are widely protected in the field of health care.
- In 2007, the Hungarian Parliament accepted the “Let it be better for the children” – National strategy 2007-2032 which aims to decrease child poverty.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion
Member States: 24  Inscribed on the list: 50
Observer States: 26

Positive achievements

- Creating the International Genocide Prevention Centre.
- Initiating the annual “Budapest Human Rights Forum”.
- Adoption of the “National Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality” for the years 2010-2021.
- Constitutional and legal regulation for the protection of national minorities in Hungary.
- Commitment to cooperate with UN Special Procedures.
- Promoting the situation of Europe’s Roma during Hungary’s EU Presidency.

Issues and questions raised

-The Roma remain the most deprived group with respect to education, employment, health and housing; what measures is the Government ready to adopt in order to tackle this problem?
- How does Hungary intend to fight gender discrimination and to promote the rights of women?
- What further measures does Hungary intend to take in order to combat hate speech and discrimination in the society?
- Prison overcrowding has led to inadequate medical care and poor sanitary conditions for inmates in Hungarian prisons.
- Reports of persistent trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
- Excessive use of force and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.

Recommendations

- Take all necessary measures to promote equality in education in favour of minority groups, especially Roma children.
- Fully implement the Agreement on Guaranteeing Special Rights of the Slovenian Minority in Hungary.
- Establish a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.
- Sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
- Establish and implement a comprehensive integration strategy for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.
- Continue to engage civil society in the process of implementing the UPR recommendations.
- Continue efforts to combat overcrowding of prisons and to ensure the successful reinsertion into society of previously convicted persons.
- Intensify measures to tackle extremism and discrimination against religious and ethnic minority groups, including the Roma people.
- Fully comply with obligations and commitments related to freedom of expression.
- Adopt specific legislation prohibiting domestic violence and spousal rape.

Response of the concerned country

- The Government has made efforts to transform media laws by consulting with UN special rapporteurs and the European Commission.
- Cases of violent acts motivated by racism and xenophobia are punishable by the Criminal Code. According to the Constitutional Court, freedom of expression, as a fundamental right, can only be restricted on very limited grounds.
- Victims of racially motivated crimes are informed about their fundamental rights in the criminal proceedings, as well as about the forms of victims’ services provided by the State.  
- With regard to the independence and impartiality of the Media Council, it is comprised of professionals elected by a two-thirds majority of the Hungarian National Assembly.
- The Hungarian Ministry of Interior has started to work on the elaboration of a protocol on police investigations regarding racist hate crimes.
- Any action that may appear as “domestic violence” is covered by existing crimes and offences. Since 2005 a network of regional crises centres has been operating to assist victims of domestic violence.
- Prohibition of discrimination is guaranteed by the Constitution, the Act on equal treatment and promotion of equal opportunities.
- As regards to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, the need for protection arises mostly in cases involving demonstrations. The right to peaceful assembly can be fully exercised in Hungary.
- An independent Police Complaints Board was established in 2008 to examine alleged violations of fundamental rights by the police.
- According to the Act on the entry and stay of third country nationals in Hungary, no one can be turned back at the border or returned to a country which cannot be considered safe, in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement.
- In order to combat human trafficking, the Government established a national coordination mechanism and appointed a national coordinator.
- The Constitutional Court will always compare domestic law with international standards.
- The Constitutional Court stipulates that the protection of human dignity is safeguarded, and that the life of the embryo is protected by the time of conception.
- The Government is working on promoting the plurality of the media.
- The Government of Hungary will cooperate with representatives from the National Roma Self-Government to improve the Roma’s socio-economic condition.
- The Government has a plan to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Friday 13 May, 4:00 p.m.

More information

Country under review (documents submitted): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/HUSession11.aspx

 
 ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ON GREECE

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group today also adopted, ad referendum, the report on Greece (A/HRC/WG.6/11/L.11), following the review of that country on Monday, 9 May 2011.

The draft report includes 126 recommendations.  97 have been examined by Greece and enjoy its support, 18 will be further examined by Greece, which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011. Nine recommendations did not enjoy the support of Greece.

The report will be made available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/GRSession11.aspx

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