UPR of Hungary: Concern about the treatment of minorities, particularly the Roma people
Friday, 13 May 2011 14:33

The Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights record of Hungary on 11 May 2011. Hungary was represented by a high level delegation comprised of five men and four women. The delegation was headed by Mr Zoltan Balog, Minister of State for Social Inclusion at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice. He presented the report and was the only member of the delegation to take the floor.


The Minister addressed the issues raised in an organised and structured manner; in his opening statement he answered some of the written questions submitted by States in advance. Key issues that were addressed included ongoing discrimination against minorities, particularly the Roma people; the inequality of men and women before the law; the lack of prohibition of corporal punishment in schools; the sexual exploitation of children and women; and the lack of compliance of a new media law with international obligations concerning freedom of expression.

Some of the more specific recommendations and questions put to the delegation included:

  • Encouragement to establish an independent national human rights institution (NHRI) in accordance with the Paris Principles to allow for effective implementation of all human rights efforts.
  • Ratifying all outstanding conventions, such as the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, and the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture.
  • Extending a standing invitation to special procedure mandate holders.
  • Implementing a national action plan to establish gender equality, both in law and practice, particularly with regards to the representation of women in political positions and public life, and continuing discrimination against women, for example in the way in which domestic violence is handled in law and by the police.
  • Continue to reduce the length of detention of migrants and asylum seekers.
  • Continue to improve the way in which the sexual exploitation of children is addressed.
  • Raise awareness amongst teachers on the obligation to refrain from using corporal punishment in schools, and eliminate segregation in schools between Roma children and Hungarian children.
  • Continue to combat discrimination of minorities, especially Roma people, and ensure their equal access to education, health care, and employment. Ensure that hate crimes against these minorities are investigated and prosecuted properly.
  • Reconsider the legislation governing freedom of expression, with special regards to the new media law and ensure that freedom of the press is not restricted in any way.
  • Continue to combat human trafficking and create stricter liability for such crimes in order to prevent trafficking, especially of women and children for sexual exploitation. Establish a support system for victims of such crimes.
  • Improve living conditions in prisons and tackle the issue of overcrowding.

Many States praised the engagement of Hungary in the UPR and the timely submission of their report. Furthermore, many states praised the establishment of a Department against Genocide in Budapest. Hungary has ensured that it works closely with non-governmental organisations and international partners on the issue of minorities, particularly with regards to the Roma people.


In conclusion, Mr Zoltan Balog highlighted the country's commitment to the UPR and human rights, and assured States that his government will most likely accept all recommendations made. Mr Balog agreed that his country would extend an open invitation to special procedure mandate holders and stressed that the establishment of an NHRI is under consideration. Hungary accepted 113 of the 148 recommendations made, rejected 6, and postponed making a decision on 29 until the 18th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011.  


For more information, including statements delivered and the report of the Working Group, see the OHCHR extranet (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session).

Last Updated on Friday, 13 May 2011 15:17
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