Amnesty: Let Hungary revoke child protection law after failed referendum

08-04-2022

Central Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Voting Hungarian women. Photo AFP, Peter Kohalmi

The failure of the Hungarian referendum on the controversial child protection law shows that Hungarians reject the controversial proposal of president Orban. That is the conclusion of Amnesty International. The Hungarian government does not seem to respond to that request.

The human rights organisation argues that the Hungarian government is now obliged to drop the planned legislation, Hungary Today reports. "The referendum result is clear, people are fed up and do not ask for the government's campaign based on exclusion and hatred", Amnesty International Hungary and Background Society write in a joint statement.

"People do not want to live in a country where the government fights against their family members, friends and co-workers. Homophobic and transphobic propaganda law must be repealed immediately", Dávid Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, states. According to Luca Dudits, managing director of the Background Company, the referendum was made invalid on purpose. "We campaigned for an invalid referendum because we are confident that everyone wants to live in a safe and equal Hungary."

Child protection law forbids the promotion of homosexuality

At the referendum, which took place with the parliamentary elections on Sunday, about 1.6 million people voted invalidly to protest against the Child Protection Law. The law aims to protect children from being confronted with sexual content. It forbids "any portrayal of sexuality as an end in itself, any deviation from the identity corresponding to one's sex assigned at birth, sex reassignment itself or promotion of homosexuality" to minors.

That means that sexual education in schools may not portray anything that might promote homosexuality or aims at changing gender. Targeting minors with pornographic content is also strongly forbidden. It’s clear that this legislation is rooted in a social vision in which the heterosexual family is the norm for government policy and the alternative models are the exception.

When the new legislation was announced, it caused much upheaval, both nationally and internationally. For example, the Dutch prime minister said that Hungary should leave the European Union because its legislation was rooted in non-European values.

Orban: Hungary has a future in the EU

However, Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban does not seem to be moved by the protest against his law, Hungary Today reports. A few days after the failed referendum, Orban stated during a press briefing that, in his view, the referendum was successful. Never before have so many people voted in "one direction", he said, adding that he would not revoke the law. Of the votes, more than 90 per cent were in favour of the legislation, although the total result was invalid.

Orban.jpg
Prime minister Victor Orban. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Despite the critique he received from the EU, the Hungarian prime minister is convinced that Hungary has a future in the European Union. "We want to play an active role in shaping the European Union of the future", he said during an international press conference. In addition, he stressed the importance of his country for NATO. "We are a NATO member state; we will remain one and want to build a stronger military. That will also strengthen NATO."

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