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Protect Freedom in Hungary!

by Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Protect Freedom in Hungary!
Hearing Puts Focus on the Stigmatisation of NGOs
Hearing Puts Focus on the Stigmatisation of NGOs

Dear Friend,

Journalists Cannot be Barred from Hungarian Refugee Camps - The Hungarian state violated a journalist's rights (Illés Szurovecz, represented by the HCLU) by not letting him enter the territory of any of the country's refugee camps, affirmed the European Court of Human Rights. Szurovecz wanted to report on the circumstances prevailing in Hungarian refugee camps at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015. His plan was to cover, first of all, the open refugee camp in Debrecen where the ombudsman concluded the conditions violated the rights of asylum seekers. The Office of Immigration and Nationality refused the entry permit, with the reasoning being that allowing journalists in would endanger the safety of the asylum seekers living in the camp, as the stories could become available the countries they had fled from. With the help of HCLU, the journalist turned to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming his right to the freedom of expression and right to legal redress had been violated.

CJEU Hearing Puts Focus on the Stigmatisation of Hungarian NGOs - The fight against the act stigmatising Hungarian civil society organisations has entered a new phase: on 22 October the Court of Justice of the European Union held a public hearing on the case. This act violates rights to the freedom of expression and the freedom of association and unduly discriminates against some civil society organisations. HCLU and other organisations decided not to comply with the law, as their funding is already transparent. It is an important development that the case continues before the CJEU, as the Court will not consider the merits of the Civil Act before the Hungarian Constitutional Court brings a judgment, while the Constitutional Court is waiting for the CJEU to make a decision first. We trust the CJEU will reach a decision based upon which the unlawful act that stigmatises civil society organizations will have to be repealed.

Every family deserves a day-off - During the summer we have started a communication campaign with our Equality Project and several other partner NGOs, who are dealing with the rights of people living with disabilities. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of an issue that affects at least half-million citizens in Hungary. Those who take care 24-7 of their long-term ill, disabled or elderly family members. They cannot afford a day-off even if they are sick, because neither the state nor the local governments can provide a sufficient social service to help them. The campaign has been closed successfully just before the local government elections; more than 12000 signatures has been handed over to the Ministry of Human Resources. Another element of the campaign aimed to advocate mayors and candidates during the local elections to express their position on the issue of caretaking services. 35 candidates sent or expressed their official stand regarding the issue. 

Journalists Cannot be Barred from Refugee Camps
Journalists Cannot be Barred from Refugee Camps
Every family deserves a day-off
Every family deserves a day-off
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Gathering signatures
Gathering signatures

Transparent healthcare on the highest level - The Supreme Court finally ordered the Ministry of Human Resources to publish the detailed data on hospital infection cases, broken down by institutions. We have been fighting for this data for more than 2 years now. This case is really important for us, since we realized that hospital infections kill more people yearly, then car accidents. We collected dozens of personal stories of people affected by hospital infections, started a petition for the transparency of healthcare, monitored the newly introduced regulations for hygienic standards in hospitals. Our colleagues gave interviews in the national media many times to raise awareness of this issue. Now it seems that the long story came to an end, but we still have a lot to do. After the data will be delivered to us, we will request the Office of the Surgeon General to analyze and publish the data in a simple and understandable way. We will continue to advocate for safe healthcare, i.e. accountability for hospital infections, transparency about adverse events and a decrease in the number of adverse events.

Pride without borders - This was the first year after a long-time period when not the Budapest Pride participants had to walk between barriers but those who were protesting against LGBT people. It was HCLU’s achievement, because we helped the organizers to file a complaint against the police’s decision. Our colleagues - as usual - were among the participants as legal human rights observers and helped the organizers to keep the march legal and peaceful. 

Every family deserves a day-off - We have started a communication campaign with our Equality Project and several other partner NGOs, whose are dealing with rights of people living with disabilities. The campaign aims to raise awareness of an issue which affects at least half-million citizens in Hungary. Those who take care 24-7 of their long-term ill, disabled or elderly family members. They cannot afford a day-off even if they are sick, because neither the state nor the local governments can provide a sufficient social service to help them. Through a petition and the communication campaign we try to put pressure on decision makers for reforming social services in order to ensure families independent living. During the summer our colleagues and volunteers gathered signatures for the petition all around Budapest and in four music festivals countrywide.

Pride without borders
Pride without borders
Every family deserves a day-off
Every family deserves a day-off
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Huge Roma rights victories in Tiszavasvári and Miskolc again - It was only a few months ago that we won the most significant anti-discrimination case in Hungary against the local government of Miskolc. Now we have won the case on the second instance as well. the authorities’ practice of joint raids against the families living in the slums of the city incited us to file a case against them. From 2011 on, systematic raids and harassment have been targeted at the Roma population, multiple authorities visited families unannounced on many occasions, checking their belongings, too. The aim of these measures seems to beto chase these families away from the city.

Another long procedure came to its end in April. We succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court that the Tiszavasvári local-government discriminated and harassed the Roma by inviting and contracting a radical paramilitary group, the Legion of Honor, as law enforcement support. The local-government has been fined, ordered to renounce the discriminatory practice and publish the order of the court.

Don’t shoot the messenger - One of our clients sent us horrifying recordings of physical and verbal abuse against disabled inhabitants of a state-maintained nursing home in Mozsgó. On the client’s definite appeal we could only turn to the ombudsperson and not the law enforcement authorities as only the ombudsperson’s office has the permission to monitor state-maintained facilities by paing surprise visits, moreover it is also entitled to hide the identity of the original source of the information. A great media scandal started when the report was published and the Ministry of Human Resources planned to prosecute the HCLU. However, evidence and the published report convinced the Ministry to submit a criminal complaint against the unknown persons ill-treating patients in the institution, and to initiate an internal investigation in the nursing home instead. We are happy that the authorities recognized their responsibility and the first step has been taken in order to prevent such cases of abuse against disabled people.

Stop the propaganda - Public media blatantly does not abide by the election rules and runs  campaigns for the governing party openly, even now, during the EP elections. HCLU has shown that it is possible to stop this practice. Upon our call, one of the opposition parties joined us in our objection and the public television was fined by the National Election Committee. The cynical propaganda and the way it aims to influence is total nonsense - this is why we stand up against this practice whenever we can.

Thank you for your support of protecting freedom in Hungary.



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Protests in December
Protests in December

Here are the highlights from December.

Huge victory for Roma rights in Miskolc! We have won the most significant anti-discrimination case of Hungary in December against the local government of Miskolc. We filed the case against the authorities because of their practice of joint raids against the families living in the slums of the city. From 2011 on  systematic raids and harassment targeted the Roma population, often multiple authorities visited families unannounced and checked their belongings. These measures aimed to chase these families away from the city. We have won the case on first instance, the court forbade the local government from the further infringements. As the major announced in an open letter that they will appeal, we will continue to fight for the equal rights of Roma Hungarians in Miskolc.

Protest rights defended. Mass protests started in Hungary at the end of 2018. The government announced an amendment of the Labor Law, which contains extensive advantages for employers and increases the yearly maximum of overtime in 400 hours. Trade unions, NGOs and students protested together against the law. Several cases of disproportionate use of force by the police and restraining measures were reported. Our protest hotline answered the incoming flow of questions about the exercise of the right to protest and our lawyers spent their weekends at the police attending the hearing of our clients.

MPs rights violated when thrown out by force from a public building. The public broadcast TV has become a symbol of the system, when not reporting about the demonstrations. The protesters marched to the TV’s studios and created a five point list of demands. Opposition MPs, using their privileges that allow them to enter any public building, arrived at the scene and requested a meeting with news editors. As no one was willing to meet them, MPs decided to spend the night in the building, waiting for the protesters’ five demands, including a call for an independent public media, to be read out on air. Private armed security guards used force to remove the group of 13 MPs from the building; they literally threw out 2 some of them, one of whom had to be hospitalized.

The MPs filed a criminal complaint against the private security guards  for abuse of a public official. The HCLU provides legal aid for three of them: Bernadett Szel, Akos Hadhazy and Laszlo Varju).

Ethical hacking is a form of whistleblowing. The HCLU represents an ethical hacker on the court against the Hungarian Telekom who has found a vulnerability on the telecommunication giant’s network. Through the vulnerability a massive amount of personal data of users could be accessed. He has reported the issue to the competent personnel, but the corporation did not resolve the problem as he checked weeks after his whistleblowing. For this second entering the corporation filed a criminal complaint against the ethical hacker and the prosecution is now charging him with more and more serious accusations. We are working in order to convince the court our client is an ethical hacker, his conduct served public interest. Our goal is to prove that  whistleblowers should not be punished for revealing such vulnerabilities.

That’s how your donation helps us to protect freedom in Hungary! Thanks for being with us!

Protests in December
Protests in December
Ethical hacking is a form of whistleblowing
Ethical hacking is a form of whistleblowing
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We don't really like each others with the walls.
We don't really like each others with the walls.

Joint exhibition opened in Budapest by the HCLU and the community of ‘Living Independently’ with the title: We don’t really like each other with the walls. The exhibition presents works (videos, pictures, books) created by couples, one artist and one person with disability. The exhibition will be accessible later in other cities around the country as well. Photos from the opening are available here.

“Hospital infections kill more people, than car accidents” - this is the quote which made the public realize the seriousness of the situation. The HCLU works for transparency and accountability in this regard.  We are fighting at the courts for detailed data on hospital infection cases, broken down by institutions. In September we started a petition demanding more the transparency and HCLU colleagues and volunteers visited hospitals in 12 cities around the country to provide free legal-aid.

As we have noted you before, the Hungarian Parliament introduced a new bill on right to assembly, which we had analysed on our website. Just a few days ago HCLU has won its first case connected to the new act! The authority applied too strictly the most controversial part of the bill – and tried to ban a protest because of the disruption of traffic. Thanks to our attorney’s work the court cancelled the police’s ban and the protest could be organized by the citizens.

Thanks to a 90 days long crowdfunding action our right-awareness raising card game for disabled children, called MONDO can be introduced in forty schools in Hungary. During the project our experts provide training on the use of the cards for teachers. The game is designed to show children how to protect themselves in different situations. Our goal is to introduce the card and its methodology to the official curriculum.

From the 15th of October living on the streets in Hungary is forbidden as a petty offence. As the member of the Workgroup on Petty Offences, - a group of human rights NGOs that helps citizens to understand the law and the procedures – we are monitoring the implementation, challenge the law and our partners also provide legal aid to homeless people.

 

Thank you for supporting us and for your help to protect freedom in Hungary!

MONDO - the right-awareness raising cardgame
MONDO - the right-awareness raising cardgame
It's a petty offence to be a homeless in Hungary
It's a petty offence to be a homeless in Hungary
Petition and free legal aid in 12 cities
Petition and free legal aid in 12 cities

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Organization Information

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

Location: Budapest - Hungary
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tasz_hu
Project Leader:
Stefania Kapronczay
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Budapest, Budapest Hungary
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