Hungary: Ongoing degradation of the rule of law, attacks on the independence of the judiciary and human rights protection

In a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Hungary, the ICJ today raised concerns about the ongoing degradation of the rule of law, the undermining of the independence of the judiciary and human rights protection, including for migrants.

The statement was delivered during the discussion of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Hungary, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.


The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) notes the completion of the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review by Hungary.

The ICJ welcomes the acceptance by Hungary of the recommendation to fully respect the separation of powers.

The ICJ notes that Hungary did not accept the recommendations to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, declaring them to have already been implemented.

We regret to inform the Council that this is not the case.

Since 2011, a series of legislative and constitutional changes have significantly increased political control or undue influence over the judiciary and undermined judges’ security of tenure. The independent self-governance of the judiciary has been severely compromised.

The ICJ therefore regrets that Hungary has not accepted the recommendations to depoliticize the judicial system by strengthening the National Judicial Council powers; to take steps to protect judges from political retribution; and to implement the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.

Hungary has only noted the recommendations aimed at ensuring that the rights of migrants and refugees are respected, on the justification that “the current asylum and migration legislation adequately ensures that the recommendations are met”.

Contrary to this assertion, in 2015, Hungary amended its asylum law to declare a “crisis situation” caused by mass migration and swiftly criminalized any entry through its borders. In addition, since 2018 a Hungarian law criminalizes the work of civil society organizations or lawyers that work to assist migrants.

Finally, the ICJ regrets that Hungary has not accepted the recommendations on the ratification of the Optional Protocols to the ICESCR and the CRC.

I thank you.”

Full statement available here: ICJ Statement – HRC49 – IT6 – UPRHungary – Final


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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