The Orbán government defeated in Luxembourg: Will it retaliate?

On January 25 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on a case that the Hungarian Helsinki Committee had brought to it in April 2015 on behalf of a Nigerian man seeking political asylum because of his homosexuality. In Nigeria’s 12 northern states that have adopted Shari’a law, the maximum penalty for homosexuality is death by stoning. The Hungarian authorities, on the basis of psychological tests, turned down his request. With the help of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, he appealed to the Szeged Administrative and Labor Court, where one of the judges decided to ask the opinion of the ECJ. He apparently had doubts about Hungarian law as it applied in cases like the Nigerian asylum seeker. As it turned out, not without reason.

Now, almost two years later, the court in Luxembourg ruled that “an asylum seeker may not be subjected to a psychological test in order to determine his sexual orientation” because “the performance of such a test amounts to a disproportionate interference in the private life of the asylum seeker.” This ruling is a great victory for the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which was an early opponent of psychological testing. In fact, the organization received a 120 million-forint grant from EU sources to put together a training manual titled Credibility Assessment in Asylum Procedures, which was published in 2013. It is a 140-page, extremely thorough guide for those who have to decide the fate of refugees or migrants. The staff of the Helsinki Committee argued that these psychological tests, especially the ones used by the Hungarian authorities, are of no help; in fact, they can easily lead to unfair assessments of individual cases. If well-trained professionals do the questioning, the veracity of the asylum seeker can be ascertained in most cases without any psychological testing, the Helsinki Committee contended. Although there were earlier ECJ rulings on similar cases, this decision is especially significant because it is applicable in all 28 member states of the European Union. Moreover, the Hungarian court cannot appeal, which makes the Nigerian refugee’s chances for asylum much stronger.

The Hungarian authorities’ decision was based on a psychologist’s report that included an exploratory examination, an examination of the applicant’s personality, and the results of three personality tests: Draw-a-Person-in-the-Rain, Rorschach, and Szondi. The Rorschach test was developed almost 100 years ago in the 1920s; Lipót Szondi’s test is not much more recent. It first appeared in 1935. According to current opinion, “when interpreted as a projective test, results [of the Rorschach test] are poorly verifiable.” There is some evidence that it is still good for detecting such conditions as schizophrenia and psychotic and/or personality disorders, but I found nothing that said the test is good at proving or disproving homosexuality. When it comes to the Szondi test, it is not widely used in modern clinical psychology “because its psychometric properties are weak.” Both the Rorschach and the Szondi tests are available online. The third test is positively amusing. The subject is asked to draw a person in the rain, on the basis of which far-fetched conclusions are drawn. These conclusions are so bizarre that I urge everybody to pay a visit to the site, which explains the significance of every aspect of this drawing, starting with the position of the person on the paper to the handle of the umbrella.

Naturally, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee is delighted with the ruling, which “is the result of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s decade-long struggle to put an end to the humiliating and stigmatizing psychological testing of asylum-seekers’ sexual-emotional orientation in asylum procedures.” For Viktor Orbán, on the other hand, this is yet another blow from an NGO that he perceives as part of a centrally ordered and organized attack on his political system with a view to his removal from office. In opposition circles most people express their disbelief that Viktor Orbán can seriously think that George Soros, like a puppeteer, pulls all the strings that result in his repeated humiliation. I might be mistaken, but I think that Orbán’s repeated attacks on George Soros and his activities through the NGOs is more than a campaign stratagem. I suspect it is a reaction to what he perceives as a genuine threat to his power.

This latest defeat was answered by a plethora of belligerent articles and editorials in the government media. In Magyar Idők two relevant articles and one editorial appeared on the day following the release of the ECJ’s verdict. All three emphasize that the court opted to share “the point of view of the Soros-financed Helsinki Committee.” Calling the lawyers working for these civil rights organizations “human rights fundamentalists,” one of the articles accuses them of “removing the administrative barriers which hamper the admission of migrants to the European Union.” An article titled “According to the EU the immigrants are always right” is mostly concerned about the exclusion of psychologists. It charges that “in the future lay people will decide whether those who claim to be homosexuals are really ‘different’ or not.” Misinterpreting the Helsinki Committee’s handbook, the author accuses the organization and the European Court of Justice, which agrees with it, of always believing the words of the asylum seekers, even if their stories are confused and contain contradictory statements. These opinions reflect the judgment of the Hungarian ministry of justice. Undersecretary Pál Völner considers the ECJ verdict unprofessional because the judges failed to consult “the experts on the subject,” the psychologists. They are the ones who can pass judgment on the tests the Hungarian psychologists have been administering to asylum seekers.

Magyar Idők’s editorial titled “An absurd verdict” is frightening. According to the unsigned opinion piece, as a result of this new development the “Stop Soros action plan is not only justified and urgently needed but it is presumably insufficient against the systematic undermining of traditional European societies.” It continues: “to defend against the activities of the Soros organizations and to counter migration pressure further changes in the law will presumably be necessary.” Does this mean that attacks against the “Soros network” will intensify? Unfortunately, the government media’s predictions more often than not turn out to be an announcement of government policy. There is therefore a good likelihood that the answer to the Helsinki Committee’s success in Luxembourg will be another round of attacks on them and the other civil rights groups.

January 27, 2018
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Aida
Guest
I noticed the report of this case and I am pleased Eva took time and trouble to offer a review both of the judgment and of the Hungarian official reaction. We really should not spend time or effort on the latter. It is both predictable and wrong. The ECJ did not decide the asylum application. It referred it to the Hungarian Court with guidance of what is not the right approach to deciding such cases. Leaving aside for the moment weather the Hungarian tests are contrary to human rights law there are two questions remaining. Do those tests ever conclusively decide whether a person is or is not a homosexual? The second is whether its conclusions actually answer any material question? In an asylum case in relation to a homophobic regime like Nigeria what matters most is the treatment of perceived homosexuality. Since the Nigerian authorities treat perceived homosexuality oppressively the test of the authorities of an asylum country must be whether the applicant is a perceived homosexual. Since the test is not able to answer the question the process is otiose, but more likely oppressive nonsense invented for a collateral purpose which include the propaganda objectives of the Orban… Read more »
LwiiH
Guest

I saw for the first time an anti-Soros ad. It is so so crude, so ridiculous, a joke… I wanted to laugh at the absurdity of it but then, it’s no joke, this is a government funded attack on an imaginary enemy of the people… back to the future, it’s 1984.

Here is the reality. I’m standing on the street corner waiting for the light so I can cross to a walking street. This older gentleman comes up beside me and stops to wait for the light. He then casually turns to me and comments about the storm that just ended. When I respond in my broken Hungarian, he looks at me with bewilderment. He suddenly crosses the street we were walking along to wait for the lamp to change on the other side of the street. The light changes and we both cross over to the walking street and continue walking to the same shop. He didn’t know I wasn’t Hungarian until he spoke to me. Though this doesn’t happen very often, this part of my experience in today’s Hungary.

bimbi
Guest

We are told: “…the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which was an early opponent of psychological testing. In fact, the organization received a €120 million grant…”

There must be an error here or else it is Orbán family pricing. For a 140 page report that is still € 875,000 per page!

bimbi
Guest

What is all this nonsense from Magyar Idők on a “stop Soros action plan” and the “Soros-financed Helsinki Committee”? I am proud to say that I also have made a financial contribution to the work of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and it looks to me as if they are doing a fine job taking the case of a single refugee candidate to the ECJ – a singularly noble and humane action. Hungary’s government response? – Petty, mean-spirited, ignoble, uncharitable and, (dare one say it?), unchristian. But then the Mafia also works hand-in-glove with the church…

Member

THE ORBÁN GOVERNMENT DEFEATED IN LUXEMBOURG: WILL IT RETALIATE?

Does the bear poop in the woods?

Istvan
Guest
Off topic but related to discussions last week on the blog on the Hungarian military commitment to NATO. The US military newspaper the Army Times ran a very short and devastating story on the collapse of the German military it can be read at https://www.armytimes.com/flashpoints/2018/01/25/german-military-too-small-to-aid-collective-defense-official-says/?utm_source=clavis There are currently an estimated twenty nuclear weapons stationed at Büchel Air Base in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate. Given Germany’s cautious approach to military elements of national power, not to mention nuclear energy, skepticism of this basing arrangement among the population is not new. In 2009, opposition to the stationing of nuclear weapons became a prominent political issue when the then-new coalition between the CDU/CSU and FDP called for the parties to “advocate…the removal of the remaining nuclear weapons from Germany.” Those hand full of nukes located in Germany are the largest part of Hungary’s nuclear shield from a Russian invasion. The SPD now in the ruling German coalition is not pro-military. Martin Schulz, the leader of the SPD, has argued against meeting the NATO spending commitments even over years, suggesting that Germany should focus on providing diplomatic and development aid instead. Hungary is apparently not the only NATO state in Europe unprepared to take on the… Read more »
Farkas
Guest

But István, the Hungarian military is minuscule, its contribution to NATO is barely nominal, and if we take into account probable spying and other disruptive activites on behalf of the Russians, the Hungarian contribution is probably negative, in other words purely a drag on the organisation. The principal land access to the Russian front is through the Baltics, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Hungary is in effect no more than a pimple on NATO’s a**.

Istvan
Guest

In a thrust by Russia through Poland, or via the old Russian Fulda Gap istrategy, every possible NATO solider would need to be mobilized just to slow the Russians down. The Baltic states are not defensible and would only serve as a killing field for Ivans who would rapidly take over all of these nations. This is all still war gamed by NATO. A failure of conventional resistance would lead to a tactical nuclear attack on Russian forces and that would lead to very bad things.

Hungary’s small military adds to the total, however insignificant it may seem. I know most liberal Europeans think this is all absurd, but be assured both Russian and NATO commands have operational plans for such a horrible scenario.

Guest

Istvan, I’ve seen and worked on these scenarios 55 years ago (!!!) when instead of serving in the military I did several years for the German “Zivilschutz”. Since I was the one of the few with enough mathematical and physical knowledge I was responsible for calculating the effects of radiation on the people – based on the data that we were supposed to get by NATO. I participated in several FALLEX and WINTEX exercises where it was assumed that Russia had hit cities in Germany with tactical bombs and we had to calculate the effects of radiation. Since there were no computers yet we had special “circular slide rules” for this. It was really strange calculating that people would have to stay for x hours/ x days in their bunker and giving out that info via radio considering that for most people there was no room in a bunker and no supplies …

Of course all this was kind of crazy like “Dr Strangelove” because the Russians might also drop an H-bomb and that would have been it for a city like Stuttgart and its environment.

Istvan
Guest

Now Wolfi we have monsterous computers the much larger that the size of IBM’s Watson in both the command centers of Russia, China, the USA, and NATO that are chain linked into a cluster that functions as a single supercomputer. It is hard to imagine all of this Wolfi, and it is very terrifying really.

Pápa Air Base in Hungary which is involved in strategic and tactical airlift roles for NATO would without question come under Russian attack if they launched a generalized assault on the west. This is why Pápa Air Base has
Hardened Aircraft Shelters and most likely ground to air missiles.

Joseph Forgas
Guest

I think this is an very interesting case, thank you for covering it! The first thing to emphasize is the utterly backward state of some Hungarian psychological practitioners, who still use such absurd and outdated tests as the Rohrschach and the Szondi. These tests have no reliability or validity to speak of, their psychometric properties are nonexistent, and no properly trained psychologists in a Western country would be seen dead using them. Their origins lie in the murkier depths of fuzzy psychoanalytic theorizing, a theory that has long since been conclusively proven to have no scientific basis. Such tests are not only completely irrelevant to determining a person’s sexuality, they have no legitimate scientific use at all, and should have been abandoned decades ago. In that sense, the Court has made a correct judgment.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
“illegal border-crossing” between China and Laos captured on camera

anybody noticed any “civil support”?

wrfree
Guest

Re: the role of clinical psychology and ‘personality’ tests…

From the foregoing perhaps it wouldn’t be a surprise for a revival of certain psychiatric hospitals for recalcitrant ‘personalities’.

Marty
Guest

Geert Wilders in Győr performing at Hit Gyülekezete’s (Assembly of Faith) local church.

The church’s book publisher recently published Wilder’s book (and his wife happens to be Hungarian by the way).

It was a crazy performance of lies, conspiracy theories and the usual themes to make average people (who lack languages, never travel, have no direct contact to Western Europe or to any migrant) terrified. Actually the followers of the church in my experience are significantly better than average, they are actually hard-working, entrepreneurial, self-conscious, disciplined people – a kind of petit bourgeoisie.

Nothing works better on people’s mind then terror and the left-wing is singularly unable to counter this discourse.

https://index.hu/belfold/2018/01/28/wilders_hit_gyuletekezet_iszlam_arab_gyor_konyv/

Ferenc
Guest

The “Future of Europe” V4 conference was cancelled beginning this month, but still on exactly the foreseen dates, Furedi appeared in HU, and now also Wilders.
Although Wilders was not on the list/program of the conference, I still see a very likely connection. For security reasons he was not listed, and his travels need to be planned sometime ahead, so couldn’t be cancelled anymore after the conference itself was ‘postponed’.
PS: Wilders was even interviewed in ATV’s Egyenes Beszed (using the annoying voice over system).

Ferenc
Guest

Wilders also met OV and posted a picture of it:
https://444.hu/2018/01/29/a-holland-szelsojobb-vezere-vegre-talalkozott-a-peldakepevel-orban-viktorral
great picture: OV wasn’t happy at all! Keep him that way!!

Guest

After having seen many fake or photoshopped pictures around I got the impression that this might also be a fake – at least it looks kind of surreal to me! 🙂

Guest

Wilders also promoted his latest book in Györ which was translated into Hungarian – surely a “must have” for every illiberal.
Rather OT:
A guy from the German AfD promised that when they come to power they’ll destroy Islam in Europe – not only in Germany!

wrfree
Guest

Just a piece of data…
A Pew Research Center poll, conducted from June 2015 to July 2016, found that 5% of Hungary were atheists, while 30% stated that they “Do not believe in God”

Could have possibly passed the Christian Islam exorcisers’ desks prompting a visit from Geert. Brings on the exercise to trawl for more to be ‘saved’ from the damned Muslim ‘heathens. And to ‘lay it in on the line’.

Those 30% who ‘do not believe in God’ may not be the immediate target. But who knows what could be in store for the rightist theocracy? Today it’s Islam under the vehement religious microscope. But tomorrow it could be well those who have the absolute audacity to be ‘no-God ists’. Pluralism? Seems a lost cause in this Magyarorszag.

Observer
Guest

LwiiH 1:28 am
Guys,
The ads may be primitive, but don’t underestimate the suckers and their stupidity and ability for self deception, the Hungarians excel in the latter and they have done it again:
A study found that 2/3 believe that the (nonexistent) George Soros Party, SGP will contest the election, but will not win. Perhaps because the the SGP couldn’t secure the support of the Piresians.
https://alfahir.hu/2018/01/29/soros_gyorgy_valasztas_propaganda_wtf