Call on Hungarian Parliament to align legal gender recognition with internationally recognized human rights standards

Statement of the Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe adopted on 27 April 2020
headline Strasbourg 27 April 2020
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Call on Hungarian Parliament to align legal gender recognition with internationally recognized human rights standards

The Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs joins the concerns expressed by its members ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe, many Hungarian human rights and LGBTI NGOs, national and international experts, as well as international institutions.

The draft Omnibus Bill (T/9934), currently under proceeding by the Hungarian Parliament, would make it impossible for transgender and gender diverse persons to legally change their sex and/or gender marker. In addition, according to the proposed provision, “sex at birth” should be indicated in the national register, as well as on the ID of each Hungarian citizen.

In Hungary, the identity documents can be changed by law, “although processes have been suspended for nearly two years”[1]. In its Report of the fact finding visit in Hungary (2016), the Conference of INGOs delegation noted the need to have a transparent and accessible procedure based on self-determination for legal gender recognition (p.13). The government in its comments refused “the allegation on the gender-based discrimination”, underlining that “the Hungarian legal framework is in line with the European standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”.

As ILGA Europe notes that “the attacks against the LGBTI community [in Hungary] go back to 2015”. In addition, after signing the Istanbul Convention in 2014, in 2020, the Hungarian government stated that it does not support the ratification of the Istanbul Convention deeming some of its provisions incompatible with Hungary’s migration policy. Nor does the government want to incorporate the concept of gender and gender ideology into Hungarian law”[2]. As the draft Omnibus Bill (T/9934) shows, the Hungarian government wishes to define gender as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes” (Art 33 of the draft).

“Since 2010, the ECtHR has affirmed that transgender people fall within the scope of equality and non-discrimination protection under Article 14 of European Convention on Human Rights” and gender recognition is protected under Article 8 of this Convention[3].

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in its Recommendation (CM/Rec(2010)5) endorsed “that Member states should take appropriate measures to guarantee the full legal recognition of a person’s gender reassignment in all areas of life, in particular by making possible the change of name and gender in official documents in a quick, transparent and accessible way” [4].

In 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in its Resolution 2048 (2015) recommended “ to develop quick, transparent and accessible procedures, based on self-determination, for changing the name and registered sex of transgender people on birth certificates, identity cards, passports, educational certificates and other similar documents; make these procedures available for all people who seek to use them, irrespective of age, medical status, financial situation or police record”[5]. In addition to the 2048 (2015) Resolution, PACE recommended in 2018 to “provide for transgender parents’ gender identity to be correctly recorded on their children’s birth certificates”[6].

Considering the above, we call on the Hungarian Parliament to drop Article 33 which contradicts European regulations.

We state that all adopted provisions have to respect the fundamental rights of all Hungarians, to follow the Council of Europe’s standard setting and political orientations adopted by the Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

 

[1] #Drop33: Europe’s Two Largest Networks of LGBTI and Transgender Organisations call on Hungarian Parliament to Reject Attempts to Ban Legal Gender Recognition

[2] As indicated in the statement made by Ministry of Justice and reported by Hungary Today in English, 2020.02.11.

[3] European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination

[4] Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 31 March 2010 at the 1081st meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

[5] PACE Resolution 2048 (2015) Discrimination against transgender people in Europe. Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 April 2015 (15th Sitting).

[6] Resolution 2239 (2018) Private and family life: achieving equality regardless of sexual orientation. Text adopted by the Assembly on 10 October 2018 (33rd Sitting).