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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has stated that Hungary should solve the population issue by encouraging Hungarians to give birth to children and give them the best conditions for it, not through immigration. That is why they are also saying no to the Istanbul Convention. Photo: Government of Hungary

Hungary says no to Council of Europe’s liberal Gender Convention

On May 5, Hungary's parliament voted no to a convention of the Council of Europe that was supposedly about "violence against women". Hungary’s justice minister Judit Varga argued that existing national laws already protect women against violence.

Published: May 27, 2020, 9:20 am


    In the Hungarian parliament, where ruling party Fidesz has a two-thirds majority, ratification of a regional treaty allegedly on violence against women, was voted down.

    The Council of Europe Convention on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, actually advances freedom of sexual orientation, gender identity and immigration under the pretext of the prevention of violence against women.

    Politicians in Hungary believe the convention promotes gender ideology which undermines traditional family values and encourages homosexuality. Moreover, the convention’s protection of migrant women openly contradicts Hungary’s efforts to crackdown on irregular immigration.

    This week’s vote by Hungary continues a clear trend: Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Latvia have similarly refused to ratify the convention. Poland has threatened to withdraw while Slovakia has even opposed European Union accession to the convention.

    The European Commission President and Equalities Commissioner have prioritized EU accession to the convention. The Council is an intergovernmental body established in 1949, with political representatives from 47 states and its purpose is to safeguard human rights in Europe.

    The Convention was adopted in 2011 and almost all countries in Europe have signed it, including Hungary. The countries that have said no are Russia, Lithuania and the Muslim Azerbaijan, which is a member of the Council of Europe despite not being in Europe.

    However, signing is only a first step, and the idea is for the national parliaments to ratify the convention so that it becomes binding and the state becomes obliged to abide by it. In addition to Hungary, another ten countries have signed on but have not gone further in the process.

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