Hungary: Blocking of domestic violence treaty further exposes women during COVID-19 crisis

Following the adoption of a declaration today by Hungary’s parliament not to ratify the Istanbul convention against violence against women, David Vig, Amnesty International’s Hungary Director, said:

“This decision is extremely dangerous coming at a time when reported domestic violence incidents in Hungary have doubled since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. This not only puts women and girls at risk but sends a damaging message to perpetrators that their acts will not be prosecuted.”

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had failed to adequately prevent and combat violence against women, with a shameful record of investigations and prosecutions.”

Today's decision not only puts women and girls at risk but sends a damaging message to perpetrators that their acts will not be prosecuted
David Vig, Amnesty International Hungary

“Spurious claims by the government that the Convention ‘supports illegal migration’ and ‘prescribes dangerous gender ideologies’ is an attempt to shift attention away from its own shortcomings from the tragic reality for women and girls living with abuse.”

“Hungary must revoke this declaration and ratify the Istanbul Convention as a matter of urgency and take all necessary steps to sufficiently protect women and girls from violence and domestic abuse, particularly in the current fight against the pandemic.”

Background

Hungary signed the so-called Istanbul Convention (the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) in 2014, but the legal instrument has not become part of the national law by parliamentary authorization.

The Hungarian government has ignored civil society pressure to ratify the Convention, previously describing their concerns as ‘political whining’.

A government decree adopted last night,states that, despite the health emergency, the police can order perpetrators to stay away from the victims and provide them with alternative accommodation. It provides a slim hope for many women living with abuse whose cases have not been investigated.

 

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