We stand with the Hungarian LGBTI community
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Open letter to the EU Commission and Council
On March 31st, 2020 Viktor Orbán’s administration announced new decisions amid the coronavirus outbreak. Among those, a change in the Hungarian legislation in order to attack transgender rights, a change announced during the international transgender day of visibility (TDOV).
Those decisions were just a part of a series of other measures that trampled on freedom and the rule of law, including provisions against journalists guilty of spreading “fake news”, which also included the possibility to extend indefinitely the state of emergency without the Parliament’s approval, any election during this period and, shortly, the adoption of almost unlimited powers.
During this health emergency period, EU Countries adopted various measures and orders linked to the state of emergency focused on the struggle against COVID19. We need to remain wakeful and verify the time limitation and proportionality of these measures given the stakes.
In the case of Hungary, the government decided to willingly take advantage of the health emergency to keep attacking, step by step, what was left of the rule of law, freedom, rights, minorities and the LGBTI community.
Among these useless and anomalous regulations, there is one that changes the rules on legal gender recognition, a complete violation of the competing jurisdiction. This decision is a clear provocation from the Orbán administration to the funding principles of the European Union in order to maintain pressure on the Hungarian population. We are allies of all men and women who keep fighting daily to defend and rebuild democracy and of all the unknown people who suffer mostly from these devastating far right and reactionary decisions.
As underlined by the GUE/NGL group in the European parliament, and even by Amnesty International, this “carte blanche for erosion of fundamental rights” cannot pass in silence without a clear and concrete answer from the European Commission and the European Council. Heads of State and national governments have the responsibility to show that they have the political will to not let the common frame of the whole Union be distorted at an unprecedented level. The defence of the EU values, as the defence of human rights, calls for a clear and strong condemnation of these actions.
The Hungarian people cannot be left alone in this situation. They are the first victims of a government who denies liberties, attacks the most basic rules of democracy and continues to oppress the LGBTI community.
We, as part of political LGBTI organizations and associations and as citizens, are well aware of the existence of mechanisms in European legislation that prevent these situations from happening and that condemn them when they do. The Orbán administration already incurred in the violation of fundamental rights, several times. A parliamentary report denouncing these violations, written by the Dutch green MEP Judith Sargentini in 2018, was supported by all left groups and some centrists MEPs.
The document pointed out the dangers of the policies implemented for years in Hungary by the Prime Minister, threatening the freedom of the press, questioning justice independence, regularly attacking the NGOs with declarations hinting at antisemitism, questioning social and civil rights. That same Hungarian government, often supported by the conservative Polish administration, has obstructed any LGBTI demand for equality and has attacked any right achieved in the past, while fighting for the elimination of any reference to the word “gender” in all official European texts.
All these elements are weapons against the Hungarian people, and especially the LGBTI community, in particular transgender people.
The European Commission and the European Council must act, now. The newly former Commission cannot hide itself behind subtle threats and must denounce effectively these attacks to democracy. Member states must go on, at any cost, with the infringement procedure against Hungary for its violation of the rule of law by suspending the Hungarian right to vote in the institutions where this government is represented. At the same time, we believe that the European funds should be suspended from next planning until the complete restoration of the rule of law in Hungary.
The beginning of a non-democratic government in the very heart of Europe is no longer a risk, but a reality as we can clearly understand reading the words of Iratxe Garcia, S&D group president who underlines the critical situation recognizing that we are facing a “serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded”.
Since 2010, the Hungarian situation has continued to get worst, especially for the LGBTI community, who is the first to pay the price. A price too high.
Europe cannot stay silent anymore.
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