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Hungary: PACE General Rapporteur denounces new legislation as ‘part of a concerted attack on LGBTI people by the authorities’

Fourat Ben Chikha

“Yesterday, the Hungarian parliament adopted a raft of discriminatory legislative amendments designed to introduce a ban on the ‘portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality’ for persons under the age of 18,” said Fourat Ben Chikha (Belgium, SOC), PACE General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people.

“This legislation is strongly reminiscent of so-called ‘anti-gay-propaganda’ laws that the Assembly already denounced in 2013, and it conflicts with the requirement that states respect the freedom to receive and impart information on subjects dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity, spelt out by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in a 2010 recommendation.

“The amendments deprive all young people of access to comprehensive sexuality education and objective information about the different forms of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics that exist in every society, and they directly discriminate against LGBTI people. The European Court of Human Rights already found, in a 2017 judgment, that a legislative ban on ‘propaganda of non‑traditional sexual relations aimed at minors’ was harmful to children, discriminatory, and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights,” he said.

“By adopting these amendments to the Child Protection Act, Business Advertising Activity Act, Media Act, Family Protection Act and Public Education Act, the Hungarian authorities are continuing their concerted attack on the rights of LGBTI people, begun with constitutional amendments in May 2020, in the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, and pursued with further legislation in December 2020. All this is moreover occurring against a backdrop of virulent hate-speech against LGBTI people by political leaders in Hungary,” he deplored.

“I urge all Council of Europe member States, political leaders and parliamentarians to use every means at their disposal to have this legislation struck down or repealed immediately,” he concluded.