“The decision of the Hungarian government to conduct a national referendum regarding children’s access to information concerning sexual orientation and gender identity issues on the same day as the parliamentary elections is deeply regrettable as it furthers the instrumentalisation of the human rights of LGBTI people”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.
“It was disappointing that the 'child protection law', which wrongly associates homosexuality with pedophilia and curtails the freedom of expression and education of all Hungarians was adopted in June 2021 despite the strong objections of many international and national observers, including myself.”
As a result of the law, which was deemed incompatible with international human rights norms by the Council of Europe Venice Commission in December 2021, information about LGBTI people and issues must be banned from all places where it may be viewed by minors, including the media and in libraries, and the possibility of teaching content related to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in schools has been seriously restricted.
“I am worried that the proposed referendum will entrench stereotypes, prejudice and hate against LGBTI people and therefore have a strong negative impact on their rights, safety and well-being, by putting questions to popular vote that are ambiguous and misleading. The implication, for instance, that comprehensive sexuality education is detrimental to children's development is simply false. To the contrary, it is essential to prevent and combat sexual abuse against children, helps build safer, inclusive societies and children are entitled to it. I have previously warned that political manipulation of the human rights of LGBTI people is on the rise in Europe and symptomatic of a more general attack on and disregard for human rights. The referendum in Hungary is a striking illustration of this worrying trend.”