The Hungarian government’s flouting of European law and human rights

Two weeks ago the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) handed down a decision that may affect part of Viktor Orbán’s solution to the refugee crisis. He might not be able to continue incarcerating asylum seekers in so-called transit zones.

Hungarian civil rights activists were encouraged by the Court’s decision, especially since the latest amendments to the Law of Asylum, passed not long ago by the parliament, envisaged these container transit zones as the sole means of handling asylum applicants. In fact, it was today that the amended law came into effect.

After ECHR’s ruling, the leaders of the government parties began suggesting in all seriousness that Hungary should simply suspend its adherence to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, originally adopted in 1950. This is not a joke, just as it is not a joke that Hungary is pursuing the issue of the red star on bottles of Heineken beer. Both are hopeless efforts by a government that is acting even more strangely of late than it normally does.

A week ago Monday, Imre Vejkey (KDNP) began the attack on the Convention: “Now is the time to think about terminating Hungary’s adherence to the Convention or at least suspending some of its provisions.” On Thursday János Lázár said at his press conference that the government considers the verdict “unacceptable and impossible to implement.” Although the decision was unanimous and the Court is unlikely to reverse itself, the Hungarian government insists on appealing the judgment. By Friday Zoltán Kovács, the government spokesman, announced on ATV that “the ministry of justice will have to examine what kinds of obligations” Hungary has under the terms of the Convention. On Sunday Lajos Kósa, the leader of Fidesz’s parliamentary caucus, said that if Strasbourg continues criticizing Hungary’s migrant policies “we must relinquish” our adherence to the treaty. He even accused the Hungarian Helsinki Commission of “profiting from the migrant crisis at the expense of the Hungarian government.” He was alluding to the fact that the Court, in addition to the 5.8 million forints awarded to each of the refugees, granted 2.7 million forints to the Hungarian Helsinki Commission for their work on the case.

Együtt, one of the smaller opposition parties, compiled a list of what Hungarians would be deprived of if Hungary turned its back on the Convention and consequently on the Council of Europe. The list is long: right to equality; freedom from discrimination; right to life, liberty, personal security; freedom from slavery; freedom from torture and degrading treatment; right to remedy by a competent tribunal; freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile; right to a fair public hearing; right to be considered innocent until proven guilty; right of free movement in and out of the country; right to asylum; right to own property; right to education. And we could continue. But Lajos Kósa sees no problem whatsoever with the suspension of the Convention because “in Hungary it is not the legal force of ECHR that guarantees human rights but the Hungarian Constitution and other international treaties.”

This is all just talk. The consequences of such a move would be so severe that no country, especially a member of the European Union, could seriously entertain it. The very first consequence of such folly would be a loss of membership in the Council of Europe. That in turn would result in serious conflict with, or even expulsion from, the European Union. So, Kósa can demand all he wants that the government in the name of Fidesz suspend adherence to the Convention. Nothing of the sort will happen. After all, in Europe there are only three countries that are not signatories: the Vatican, Kosovo, and Belarus.

As for the Hungarian Helsinki Commission, Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the organization, doesn’t seem to be at all frightened by the threats made by the government against the institution as a beneficiary of the migrant business. She reminded Kósa of the kind of business the Hungarian government is conducting via the settlement bonds, sold to thousands of people for 300,000 euros each. So, Kósa should not accuse others of financial gain from the miseries of refugees. (Of course, there are refugees and “refugees,” with staggeringly different levels of misery.) As for the 2.7 million forints for legal fees, she finds the amount perfectly reasonable. Unless she hears something similar from the government itself, she considers Kósa’s semi-incoherent words on the subject mere “political rant.”

The government is remaining quiet for the time being. But its actions show that it was’t impressed with the Court’s verdict or with the Hungarian Helsinki Commission’s repeated assertion that the government’s latest law on asylum is illegal not just according to the Court in Strasbourg but also according to the Hungarian Constitution. The Hungarian Helsinki Commission again had to turn to ECHR on Friday in order to put an immediate stop to moving a pregnant woman from Uganda and eight refugee children who had been housed in Fót to the transit zone near the Serbian border. The woman had been a victim of torture and is currently suffering from psychological trauma. As far as I know, the government refrained from the forcible removal of these people, at least for the time being.

It looks like a lecture to me / Source: Népszava / Photo József Vajda

Meanwhile Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, arrived in Budapest to conduct negotiations with Sándor Pintér, minister of the interior, and László Trócsányi, minister of justice. Avramopoulos’s job was to drive home to Budapest that all member states must comply with the Union’s rules and that human rights is one of the basic principles that must be adhered to. At the end of the negotiations it was announced that a working group will be formed to examine whether the Hungarian law infringes on the laws of the European Union. According to legal scholars, it unquestionably does. It would be time for the European Union to put an end to the Hungarian government’s games because nothing good can come of them as far as the future of the Union is concerned.

March 28, 2017
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Robert
Guest
I was a refuge with my wife and two small children in Switzerland and nobody complained on my behalf for that I had to stay in a refugee camp in Altstätten until my case was decided. I am not sure what is wrong with the general mindset of the ult-left liberals. Beside that they hate everything what Orbán does (and I am also not a fan of many of his doings) they should realize that the influx of so called refuges is nothing short of a nomad horde attempting to overrun our country. Just like the Mongols and the Turks in our history did now-days the Muslims would like to ruin our land. And they would if Orbán was the same backboneless politician as the Western so called “leaders” are. Supported by the misleading propaganda of the left-lib media (Fake News) Europe’s traitors in Brussels, Berlin, Paris and other capitals (thanks God not in Budapest as the liberal gang was destroyed by the wisdom of the Hungarian people) opened the floodgate for this modern age invasion to abolish the Judaeo-Christian culture of Europe. What is wrong with you Eva that you want this horde to freely roam on the land… Read more »
Lutra lutra
Guest

I see nothing in your version of “Ruropean values” that anybody would want to take pride in or defend.

Robert
Guest

Of course not as you are one of those who has no idea what European Values are. You are so blinded by the Fake News liberal demagogies that you lost reality from your view. The new Western European Values will be gang raping women on the street, chopping the heads of Jews and other infidels off, overpopulating cities with welfare recipients living on the veils of the working people, forcing women into sex slavery under sharia law and change the language to Arabic. No worry you will learn it when it will be late in the name of Human Right.

Guest
And in Hungary we have a government, the head of which beats his wife. We have Fidesz MPs who tell women that they would not be raped if they were good little women and stayed at home and made babies instead of going out. In Hungary we have Fidesz loyalists, such as yourself, who call facts, figures and information to be “fake” because it does not adhere to Fidesz notions. We have Fidezs politicos who are unable to distinguish between civilized and uncivilized. We have a government which greedily steals money intended for hospitals and schools, putting it iinto their own pockets. Any objection to all the corruption is “fake news” In the rest fo Europe, regufees are seeking shelter precisely because in Europe there exists the rule of law and aherence to human rights legislation. These laws have been developed slowly and painfully over hundreds of years, and wars and the loss of millions of lives. Naturally, this is anathema to Fidesz loyalists, because in theory, all the EU nations should adhere to the same laws, which are in place precisely to curb the greedy and brutal hands of such as Orbán. So as far as being a truly… Read more »
aida
Guest

So, Robert, the rest of Europe is out of step and the body of experienced Judges are just wrong?

Robert
Guest

@aida
There is no such a thing what you described. Europe is under the overwhelming control of liberals who have hidden agenda that they push onto the people against their will. I believe that nobody has the right to make decision that fundamentally will change the life of the people of the Land without putting it up for binding referendum, regardless of how experienced the judges are. They do not represent justice, they enforce laws that were written by political appointees.

And yes Europe was out of step when they bellowed at Orbán for building the wall, but they caught up and now they are following his lead. So pathetic that they forgot to apology to him for calling him all unkind names and stuck his back full of their left-lib labels.

Guest

Have you seen what the Hun government calls “refugee camp”? If you had been treated that way by the Swiss …

PS: It’s funny in a way when antisemites like you and Fidesz always use those words “Judaeo-Christian culture…”

Ferenc
Guest
Dear Robert, When you were in a Swiss refugee camp (suppose in 1956/57, but please correct me if I’m wrong), did you yourself feel that your human rights were not respected by Swiss or any other authorities? If so, would you have liked help by ordinary Swiss people or non-governmental organizations? Have you been in a current refugee camp in Hungary? If so, in which one would you prefer to be, from a refugee point of view, in a 2017 Hungarian or a 1956 Swiss one? It is clear that in the field experienced people, judges of ECHR, consider that Hungarian authorities are not respecting our, yes for each of us, basic human rights. You state “now-days the Muslims would like to ruin our land (Hungary)”. I’m not aware that “the Muslims” have such intentions. If you can not present me any valid proof, I consider your statement an outright lie and discriminative towards all Muslims. Can you please name specifically which media is/was producing , in your opinion, “misleading propaganda”? Please tell me which governments are really not fulfilling its obligation to look after the security interest of it’s own people. May be the Syrian? In my opinion any… Read more »
Bastiat2
Guest

Even though your words are as violent as those you are criticizing, I do believe that there is a large portion of European opinion who basically agrees with you. To socialists (I prefer the word to “liberal”, which means two different things whether you are in the US or sticking to the old meaning of European XIXth century), it seems incompatible to be very critical of Orbán who is, after all, not much better than Erdogan, and just as critical of socialism, who never worked nowhere (just think of the USSR and China’s Mao with its zillions of dead, and closer to us Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

webber
Guest

Socialism never worked anywhere? In it’s pure form, you are right. Just as capitalism in its pure form never worked and never actually existed (show me a state without public property). And yes, what they called communism was awful.
But socialism in the other sense never worked? Tell the Scandinavians that. Hell, tell the Germans and French for that matter. Sure, all of those countries are capitalist, too. It’s shades of grey between socialism and capitalism.

Observer
Guest

Guys,

Don’t feed such idiotic trolls.
Let’s maintain some level here.

Idiotic troll to Observer
Guest
Idiotic troll to Observer

Hey Observer, thank you for the new label. Nothing new under the Sun. Cannot win a debate call the other idiot. I like it. From now on I will use it to please you.
However I think the level that you are able to maintain is below the butt of a frog, not worth to maintain.
Have a nice day my Friend.

Guest

I have a very simple solution to the refugee problem:

The EU stops the flow of money going to Hungary and Poland (tappanch surely can tell us how many billions of € every year, more than 5 billion I’m sure) and spends it on the refugees.

And if we send back all Hungarian and Polish people to their glorious countries we’d also have room enough to house the refugees comfortably -ain’t that a great idea?

Problem solved!

And if those illiberal states were forced to pay back the money they already got we all could have a big party …

then we could watch the Great Nations do what they’ve always done! Wallow in misery …

Observer
Guest

Hear, hear!
Have advocated this for years myself, mainly on the grounds of unbridled corruption, now add refugee issue.
The gentlements’ club rules were not thought out in view of thieves and horse traders pickpoketing the members while gorging themselves on the smorgasbord for which they don’t pay.

Member

And we could give work to refugies to build a wall at our eastern borders, that the economic migrants from Hungary don’t enter again.

Andres
Guest

Off topic. It seems that the Orban government decided to attack CEU. Here’s CEU official response: https://www.ceu.edu/article/2017-03-28/ceu-responds-proposed-amendments-hungarian-higher-education-law

pappp
Guest
Correction: Decided to ban CEU. Let’s not mince words. It’s not an attack, it’s not just about “shutting CEU down” as such, it’s about banning. In an autocracy things are banned. The autocrat decides and then some things become outlawed (actually or for all practical purposes, makes no difference). This is called banning. Of course there will be “legal” explanations, Fidesz is a party of lawyers. Every boss knows that you can’t just say you fire somebody because she wasn’t having sex with you or she was making jokes about Orban, an employer has to say that she simply wasn’t a good enough employee or maybe she wasn’t a teamplayer or whatever. The point is one gotta prepare the paperwork that has a chance of standing in court or at least which could degenerate into a he says she says and can drag on for long enough (during which time the fired employee is considered hot potato, after all who wants somebody who may or may not have been good enough and then also dares to litigate, the litigation in itself being an evidence that she isn’t a teamplayer). Unfortunately, a school (any school or any investment for that matter)… Read more »
Member

“Robert ”
R. I know something you don’t. You aren’t a free man, you’re enslaved.

Robert
Guest

@ Albrecht Neumerker
Thank you for enlightening me. Could you please name just on free man on this Earth?

aida
Guest

This is an interesting development, as is OV’s rather crude attack on the CEU, below.

We should not indulge Robert by commenting further on his nonsense. Clearly there is something he does not understand. Poor fellow.

Consequences of more ECHR breaches and this latest attack on the CEU are hot topics, not our friend Robert

pappp
Guest
Please use the correct word. Orban is not attacking CEU, Orban is banning CEU. As we speak. This has long been in the making and I’m certain that the decision deeply involves Orban’s (pro-Russian) secret agencies. This would be standard MO for Orban. Orban will not give the decision up unless he faces the strongest resistance from local (possibly district 5 voters) voters (questionable, although it could be done) or from the international community (also very questionable). And even in that case it will only be a stay of execution conditional upon the results of the 2018 elections. The elections are only a year away and Tamas Jordan in Szombathely also got an extension to his post until 2018. But as they say qui habet tempus, habet vitam. I think Orban and his circle are getting more unhinged by the day. Any hope – like prof. Balogh’s yesterday post about Orban’s possible more pro-EU stance – about a normalization of Orban’s system is completely baseless. (I think that particular op-ed had to do with Merkel’s appeasing words the day before. Putin still has Orban balls and won’t ever release his grip.) Orban’s personality is all about ratcheting up tensions and… Read more »
Robert
Guest

@aida
Yes my Friend, this is the typical left-lib attitude: if you cannot win a debate against someone’s arguments you start calling names or stamping labels or making derogatory statement or simply declare the other unworthy to engage. Let me assure you that contrary to your unkind remark I do understand something (but of course not everything, that is the privilege of the left-lib “know-all” people) and I have my opinion that is just as worthy as yours. We just do not see thinks the same way. That’s it. But I welcome your desire not to “indulge Robert” as I would not pleasure you in any way 🙂

Observer
Guest

So, “Lajos Kósa sees no problem whatsoever with the suspension of” a guarantee of our:
right to equality; freedom from discrimination; liberty; personal security; freedom from torture and degrading treatment; right to remedy by a competent tribunal; freedom from arbitrary arrest, etc etc.

What kind of regime are LK and his Parteigenoosen running?
Autocracy, Dictatorship, Fascistoid, Oligarchic Republic, Maffia State.

Ferenc
Guest

One thing I didn’t find in the post, is that the option of suspending/leaving was brought up first by somebody from “Alapjogokért Központ” (an in 2013 started institution, which “investigates and publishes about topical issues and relevant cases related to constitutional law”). They were even represented at the LIBE-hearing in the EU parliament about Hungary last month (together with a.o.Amnesty Int., Helsinki Commission).
Basically AK representatives are defending all things Orban government, their financing is not transparent at all (here they list their partners http://alapjogokert.hu/partnereink/) and they speak like lawyers about bananas being straight (well that’s possible if you limit your point of view in line with the banana’s curve).
Last week was an item on HirTV, in which an AK representative was discussing with somebody from Amnesty Hungary, for who’s interested to watch/hear AK talk go here: http://hirtv.hu/newsroom/emberi-jogok-1391352

pappp
Guest

“Alapjogokért Központ” (center for fundamental rights) is a typical GONGO (government-organized non-governmental organization). The small personnel of this particular GONGO all worked once in Orban’s prime minister’s office or consists of just long-standing Fidesz operatives. Inviting Alapjogokért Központ to talk about anything is exactly like inviting Janos Lazar or Antal Rogan to talk.

Ferenc
Guest

I think also that AK is a GONGO.
Is it worth to go after some proof for that?

pappp
Guest

I know it for a fact, met some of its people. Look at the CVs of its representatives, look at what they have done and are doing (defending the government full time).

Ferenc
Guest

Do you know how they are financed, ‘official’ routes of money?

Ferenc
Guest

Another very suspicious one: Migrációkutató Intézet – started 2015.September….. – coming from Századvég…. – financing?????? – http://www.migraciokutato.hu
This morning at ATV in discussion MI director (Orbán Balázs) with Pardavi Márta (Helsinki Bizottság) about one of the new consultation questions:
http://www.atv.hu/videok/video-20170329-nemzeti-konzultacio-az-alcivil-szervezetekrol-is-kerdez-a-kormany

Observer
Guest

Ferenc

Why would anyone in the know be surprised that a Fid stooge maskarading as a human right organization would strive to cut our rights.
In Stalinist times defending lawyers on occasion appealed for harsher sentences. Nothing new here.

Ferenc
Guest

What would you do if in a discussion you are confronted with “AK personel”? How to handle / debunk AK?
Any suggestions and/or experiences are welcome

Observer
Guest

Call them stooges, cretins or whores (if they were normally practicing a profession earlier) since there’s no point arguing with people who insist the Earth is flat.
If you are ice cool you can ask them, e.g. about their charter, where surely some nice things are to be read and then ask them why are they doing the opposite, or ask them why all are they going against all the civilized countries and human rights organizations, or what are and who’s paying their salaries.
Most importantly, remember that your performance can only affect the neutral audience, in case there are only fideszniks around – screw them.

Istvan
Guest

Hungary seems to want to adopt a stance towards international law similar to my country the USA. See this article https://www.thenation.com/article/you-must-follow-international-law-unless-youre-america/

The problem is Hungary doesn’t carry the big military stick on a world scale the USA does and it’s not so easy to claim sovereign immunity and reject claims against Hungary. It should be noted as the Nation article does, the US has been doing this long before the arrival of Trump.

International law is unfortunately predicated on the ability of international bodies to enforce those laws on other nation states not morality. In this world that requires economic and military threats against nations that do not comply. We can be assured the EU will enforce nothing on Hungary any time soon. The EU is a paper tiger.

Observer
Guest

Istvan

ALL LAWS must be enforced, i.e. the stick is a must, without it we have a declaration. The latter, together with morals and customs are ineffective with boars and thieves of the Orban ilk.

Robert
Guest
@time4change Sorry to disappoint you but I am not a Fidesz loyalist. I just fully agree with the immigration policy of the Orbán government. And that is different from what you try to sell here. This is the liberal way to label people and make them look bad. In your circles I am a homophobic, xenophobic, racist, fascist and all other kind of “bic” and “ist” because I have the courage to think rather than accepting the “politically correct” bullshit that is flying around the world. Btw who has the authority from God to dictate how people may think, feel and speak their mind? Doesn’t political correctness correspond with fascism and communism? And the facts for you and the other readers: I was an immigrant who humbly entered a Great Country that offered a peaceful place for me to raise my young family. I did not proclaim the laws of that country unacceptable, I did not target to change the religion of that country, I did not attempt to force my culture onto the majority of the people, I did not drain the financial resources of that country to support me and my family, I did not promote hatred against… Read more »
Robert
Guest
@Ferenc Dear Ferenc, Thank you for your question and for your confirmation about the money issue. I am in the same boat with you, nobody pays me for shaaring my opinion. I was in a Swiss refugee camp in 1978. To start with I reported to the police in Basel and let them to register me and my family in accordance with their law. Than they sent me to Alstatten into their refugee camp and I complied rather than roaming their country in defiance. We were placed in a room with 20 beds (all occupied). Three days later I volunteered to work and they sent me to the local window factory (which was a pleasure to do rather than sitting on my butt the whole day). They took my earning in lieu of “cost recovery” leaving me and my family less money than the ones not working got as allowance. You are right I felt that my human rights were not respected by the camp leader and I voiced it loud and clear to the Eidgenössische Police Department, but they didn’t give a hoot about it. Neither did ordinary Swiss people not even the HIAS. They all said that they… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: the policy and attitudes by the Magyar government to refugees , migrants, etc etc

-Unbecoming of a an allegedly ‘democratic’ nation
-Exaggerated to hyperbole in response which is primarily..
-Knee-jerk .. in more ways than one
-Exhibits stolid thinking in the matters of human groups and their needs and wants
-Projects an ability to only use a bludgeon where more of a measured and reasoned response would be a preferred method to tackle a difficult 21st century problem…the ‘head’ apparently yields easily to the ‘hammer’
– And finally a policy oriented almost to bringing out the basest qualities of those generally inadequate in dealing with the ‘other’ in the matter of human relationships.

This is all leads up to simply …just a very bad a
horse to run. Loojs as if there cannot be no upside in solving a critical issue in our time.

Ferenc
Guest

First I’m not your friend, so your last line I disagree with.
And the same with you wrote.

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