Multiple Human Rights Violations: the Rule of Law Crisis in Hungary

The decisions of the European Union are based on the principles of the rule of law, the principle that EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding defined as a system that ensures that no person, no government, public official, or dominant business can be considered above or below the law. It is the principle of equality in the face of law’. This is a fundamental principle for the operation of the EU, which depends on a shared trust in each country’s legal systems and in establishing democratic liberalization within Europe.

However, the EU has had to fight effectively if Member States violate the rule of law. It is inconvenient for the European Union to have States that violate EU fundamental principles, which is why the rule of law ex-post conditions has been viewed as a potential solution for these problems. This tool is based on the conditions included in agreements that are only valid after the contract has been signed, which could impose negative and positive obligations. Any deal violation gives the EU the right to end or revoke the agreement.

Viktor Orban was elected Prime Minister of Hungary in 2010. Since then, he has taken his party, the Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz), which has been on a path to unconvincing actions. Hungary follows a pattern in the affirmation of the rule of law and the erosion of democracy. Orban is following his plan to establish an “illiberal democracy” in which the protection of the values rooted in Christian cultures, like the human rights of all people, the traditional family, and the nation, are his primary goals. While on the one hand, the European elites advocate a liberal democracy, which is pro-multiculturalism, supports immigration, and recognizes various types of family unity; however, the dream of ‘illiberal democracy’ is a priority for Christian culture, is against immigration, and promotes an orthodox Christian family model. These contradictory beliefs cause tensions in the EU.

Discrimination based on gender

From gender-related issues, the approach of Orban has resulted in violations of laws of the rule of law as well as human rights. Particularly the Hungarian political debate abused the Christian belief system to undermine the principle of equality. The notion about the tradition of family life and gender roles of women can’t be formulated while observing the concept of equality. Right-wingers reject the principles of liberal democracy and instead focus on the notions of nation, family, and religion. This is typical of a liberal government that concentrates on nationalist nationalism that focuses on the interests of the majority while ignoring the rights of minorities. The Hungarian government tends to demonize feminists, the human rights industry, and progressive political activists, whom they portray as villains that oppose those who support Hungarian interests. It is also controversial the utter disdain Orban displays toward women. The Orbans and their allies implemented into the country a gender-based philosophy that is firmly against the social concept of gender, the liberation of sexual minorities, and the right to reproductive rights, such as the right to abortion. These concepts are realized by replacing human rights groups with pro-government NGOs that promote an agenda of political power. For instance, to make this ideology more enforceable, Orban manipulates the funding of NGOs’ significant state-funded funding not an issue in the country, and the new NGOs tend to be traditional and antimodernist. Another instance could be the pregnancy campaign in 2011, which led to a massive scandal. Hungary has managed to trick the EU using a fake plan to gain funds from communitarians, and the funds were employed to launch a savage anti-abortion campaign, which went against the EU’s values.

Orban is a proponent of Familialism, a form of biopolitics that sees the family unit as the nation’s primary source and ties the rights of individual self-determination and reproductive rights to the normative requirement of reproduction for the country. The policies of Familialism are in conjunction with the debate on gender ideology, which portrays different gender equality and women’s issues as a “deadly menace” that is responsible for the moral and biological decline of a nation. The Hungarian Constitution referred to as”the Fundamental Law, declares that Hungary is ‘will defend the marriage institution as the union between two people since the family is the ‘basis of the survival of our nation.’ Therefore, heteronormative families are at the heart of all policies at the expense of individual freedoms. Right-wing politicians see women primarily as mothers and not as citizens, with equality must be guaranteed.

As a result of this vision, Hungary refused to ratify the Istanbul Convention (The Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against domestic violence and Women). According to the government, the Convention is inconvenient due to how gender is specified in the text. The decision to not accept the Convention was purely symbolic manner as, during the pandemic of 2020 that is expected to hit the world in 2020, several nations across Europe have seen a notable rise in domestic violence cases, which have seen women as the most frequent victims of abuse by partners. However, this didn’t alter the position of Orban. Hungary signed the Convention in 2014 but did not ratify the treaty. The refusal to ratify the Istanbul Convention is among many disadvantages of Hungary’s position in human rights. Since its election in 2010, The Fidesz party has amended the nation’s Constitution to restrict marriage only to unions between a man and woman and has enacted on the 31st March 2020, the Omnibus Bill, putting an end to the legal recognition of trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the country in the same way as Orban along with his allies try for a definition of gender that includes biological sex that is based on the fundamental sex traits and the chromosomes.

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