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Hungary against Convention for the Protection of Women

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The Hungarian Parliament has refused to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Combating Violence against Women. MPs of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s FIDESZ party and the Christian Democratic ally supported a government statement today that the agreement supports „destructive gender ideologies“ and „illegal immigration“.

The convention obliges the signatory states to classify all violence against women and girls and all forms of domestic violence as a crime and to fight against discrimination against women. It was signed in 2014 by a majority of EU member states, including Hungary. To date, however, it has not been ratified by the Hungarian Parliament with its extremely low proportion of female MPs.

Opposition outraged

Orbans FIDESZ argues that all legal guarantees to protect women from domestic violence are already covered by their own laws. It also rejects all references to “gender” in the text of the agreement – as well as the obligation to accept refugees who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender. The convention’s „ideological approach“ contradicts Hungary’s „legal order and government beliefs,“ said Lorinc Nacsa of the Christian Democrats behind the statement.

Opposition politicians were outraged. Among other things, they pointed out that domestic violence against women increased during the pandemic worldwide. Since taking office in 2010, Orban has followed an increasingly conservative course in terms of social policy and a rigid refugee policy.