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EU urged to act against Hungary as Viktor Orbán pushes ahead with ‘evil’ plan to devastate trans rights

Emma Powys Maurice April 28, 2020
Hungary

Far-right radicals chanting homophobic slogans are surrounded by police at a Pride parade in Budapest, Hungary (FERENC ISZA/AFP/Getty)

The EU has been urged to take action against Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orbán as he moves to strip away trans rights as part of a pandemic power grab.

Last month Orbán was granted the right to rule by decree indefinitely, meaning he no longer needs to consult other lawmakers before making decisions.

On the very same day his deputy introduced a new bill which, if passed, will replace “gender” with “birth sex” in all legal documents issued in the country.

According to the first draft, people’s sex would be recorded “at birth”, making it impossible to later change this status. The effect would be to legally erase Hungary’s transgender community, and it’s already driving them to suicide.

European Union MEPs have formally condemned the move as “intentional abuse,” but with the bill continuing to be discussed in parliamentary committees, international LGBT+ activists groups are calling on the EU to take definitive action.

Human rights group says EU must act against ‘autocrat’ Viktor Orbán.

“Viktor Orbán is using the COVID-19 health crisis as cover to push through discriminatory legislation that will be devastating to the lives of transgender people in Hungary,” Graeme Reid, director of LGBT+ rights at Human Rights Watch told The Independent. 

“It is typical of the autocrats playbook, to consolidate power by attacking the most marginalised. The EU should act.”

UN condemns countries using coronavirus crisis to strip away LGBT rights
Viktor Orban in Brussels in February. His move to strip trans people of their human rights has been condemned by more than 60 MEPs. (Riccardo Pareggiani/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

His message was echoed by Stonewall, which warned that “human rights are under threat” in the country.

“Stonewall, along with many other human rights defenders, condemn Hungary’s move to ban legal gender recognition,” Laura Russell, the charity’s director of campaigns, policy and research said.

“The move to row back the rights of trans people in Hungary during a global pandemic should be an alarming wake-up call that human rights are under threat.

“We cannot be complacent because the fight for equality in one place is the fight for it everywhere. When we question one group’s rights, we expose the rights of everyone to be questioned and debated.

We urge everyone who cares about LGBT+ equality to come out and show their support for trans people in Hungary and beyond.

According to Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, Hungary’s anti-trans bill will be in violation of European human rights case law if it is passed.

Calling on Hungary’s parliament not to adopt the legislation, she said in a statement to The Independent: “Transgender persons have the right to legal recognition of their gender based on self-determination. This is an essential step to ensure respect for their human rights in all areas of life.

“Legal gender recognition is a matter of human dignity.”

 

More: Europe, European Union, human rights watch, Hungary, Stonewall, viktor orban

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