Hungary must end rights abuses against persons with disabilities and stop targeting NGOs, says UN human rights committee
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has expressed concern about widespread human rights violations against persons with disabilities in Hungary.
The Committee, which is the UN’s authoritative body overseeing global implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), noted that large number of persons with disabilities in Hungary continue to be institutionalised, are forcibly treated and denied inclusion in the community. High rates of guardianship and restrictions on voting were also noted to be discriminatory.
Particular concerns were also raised about torture and ill-treatment in state-maintained institutions for persons with disabilities, following Validity’s exposure of shocking treatment and conditions at the Topház Special Home in the city of Göd last year.
The Committee’s comments were released following a wide-ranging review of civil and political rights issues in the country, which originally ratified the Covenant in 1974. The Committee urge the Hungarian government to end legal and factual discrimination against persons with disabilities, ensure access to justice, strengthen the development of community-based services to enable inclusion, and remove voting restrictions for people with mental disabilities.
Last month, a high-level government delegation travelled to meet the committee of experts in Geneva led by Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who criticised foreign influence in Hungarian affairs.
Prior to the review, Validity and numerous other civil society organisations submitted reports documenting human rights violations in the country.
The Human Rights Committee criticised legal and political sanctions on independent civil society organisation, which “appear to be part of an attempt to discredit certain NGOs, including NGOs dedicated to the protection of human rights in Hungary.”
The comments come after months of targeted attacks by the Hungarian government on human rights organisations, independent academic institutions and groups supporting refugees and migrants.
Steven Allen, Campaigns Director of Validity said: “The Committee has correctly pointed out that Hungary systematically fails to uphold the human rights of people with disabilities, among numerous other groups. From forcing people to live in institutions where they suffer abuse to denying them the right to make decisions in their lives, tens of thousands of people continue to be denied full citizenship and inclusion. Instead of vilifying civil society, the government should be working to end the widespread injustices which affect all Hungarian communities”.