The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves the review of the human rights record of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. It was created through the UN General Assembly in 2006. In this review process the UN pays special attention to the information submitted by non-governmental organizations.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee aims to assist the UN to better assess Hungary’s human rights performance by contributing to three alternative reports within the framework of the upcoming periodic review.
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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) offers an opportunity for the States to report on how they have fulfilled thier obligations under the most important international human rights instruments. In addition the UPR is a potentially powerful tool to improve the human rights situation in all countries and to address human rights violations wherever they occur. In 2011 the UN Human Rights Council will examine the human rights record of Hungary.
In the course of the upcoming UPR process the Hungarian Helsinki Committee was involved in the preparation of three alternative submissions.
The first report focusing on six areas of human rights protection was written by a wide coalition of NGOs working in Hungary in order to address fundamental human rights issues in a unified manner. The cooperating NGOs are: Chance for Children Foundation (CFCF), European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Foundation for the Women of Hungary (MONA), Hungarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (ÉFOÉSZ), Hungarian Civil Liberties Union(HCLU), HungarianHelsinki Committee (HHC), Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities(NEKI), Minority Rights Group International (MRG), People Opposing Patriarchy(PATENT), The City is for All group (AVM).
The alternative report focuses on the human rights performance of Hungary in the following areas:
- equality and non-discrimination;
- the right to liberty and security of the person;
- administration of justice and the rule of law;
- freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public and political life;
- the right to social security and to an adequate standard of living;
- and the rights of the child.
The submission highlights human rights violations against Roma people and other national, religious and ethnic minorities, people living with disabilities, women, children, asylum seekers and persons belonging to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group.
The second alternative report, which addresses the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Hungary was prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants. It includes the following issues: the inadequate detention conditions and the unlawfulness of the alien policing detention of asylum seekers, the lack of effective judicial review to contest decisions ordering alien policing detention; limited access of asylum seekers to international protection (the territory of Hungary and the asylum procedure); exclusion of Somali nationals from family reunification; insufficient access of refugees and beneficiaries of other forms of international protection to the labour market and to adequate health care services; and the lack of adequate housing measures for refugees.
The alternative report of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Menedék Association is available here.
The third submission was prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee alone. It analyzes the consequences of changing the system of checks and balances of the constitutional framework in which human rights are enforced. The report criticizes the restriction of the Constitutional Court’s scope of authority and the imposition of limitations on public consultation preceding the enactment of new legislation. It further examines detention conditions, the treatment of prisoners, access to justice and the inadequate response by the authorities to hate crime.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s alternative report is available here.