In a joint letter to EU Member States, the ICJ and other human rights NGOs have urged them to recognize the grave implications for human rights and the rule of law, of the Hungarian government’s recent emergency measures.
Ahead of the Council of the EU videoconference of EU Affairs Ministers to discuss the response to COVID-19, Amnesty International, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, the ICJ, Open Society European Policy Institute and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged the Council to take immediate steps to protect the principles enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and the rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is particularly needed in light of the already deteriorated state of the rule of law and human rights in Hungary, which warranted the activation, in September 2018, of the procedure laid down in Article 7.1 TEU.
The organisations urged the member states of the European Union to:
- include in the agenda of the upcoming session of the EU General Affairs Council an Article 7.1 TEU hearing on the situation in Hungary, including recent developments in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, and address to the government of Hungary, as a matter of urgency, concrete recommendations to safeguard respect for the rule of law and human rights in the country, that the Hungarian government must implement by a set deadline;
- commit to assessing the implementation of the recommendations in a timely manner in order to reach a determination under Article 7.1 TEU and, should conditions warrant it, move forward under Article 7.2 TEU.
- ensure enhanced monitoring of the Hungarian government’s use of EU funding, including funds aimed at supporting member states during the public health crisis.
The organisations urged both the Council and the Commission to cooperate with each other, and with the European Parliament and national parliaments, to ensure a coordinated, consistent and effective response to the situation.
The full letter is available here: CSO Letter to GAC -rule of law in Hungary April 2020