Hungary: UPR should encourage re-opening of civil society space

States should encourage Hungary to protect human rights defenders and civil society space through its forthcoming UPR, ISHR and TASZ said in a new briefing paper launched today.

(Geneva) - Hungary is scheduled to be reviewed at the 25th session of the Universal Periodic Review in April 2016.

However, the reality for human rights defenders on the ground has worsened since the State’s last review, as increasingly restrictive legislation has been enacted regarding freedom of the press, accreditation and funding of NGOs, and independence of the judiciary.

Human rights defenders have faced public stigmatization by authorities, whilst those working towards the rights of the LGBTI population face particular threats.

Key recommendations that should be made to Hungary at the UPR in 2016 include

  • Respect and protect the right of NGOs to access and utilise resources, including funding from foreign sources, and ensure that foreign-funded civil society organisations can operate freely and without discrimination or undue restriction.
  • Continue to demonstrate international leadership at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN General Assembly in New York to promote and protect the right of all persons to safe and unhindered communication with international organisations and to prevent and promote accountability for acts of intimidation or reprisal.
  • Take specific steps to recognise and protect HRDs working on the rights of the LGBTI population, including through a review of the Constitution and the Family Protection Act.
  • Reform Article IX of the Constitution on freedom of speech, in consultation with local civil society and international experts.

This Briefing Paper on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Hungary, developed by ISHR and Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the UPR.

For further information about the Briefing Paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR's Ben Leather, [email protected].