Possible EU Legal Action against Hungary’s New Constitution

Hungary may face formal legal action on Tuesday 17 January 2012 from the European Union if it fails to amend its controversial new constitution. The constitution puts restrictions on the right to vote for people with “limited mental ability.” If applied to those with intellectual or mental disabilities on the basis of those disabilities, this may infringe on Hungary’s obligations as a signatory to the International Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, which protects the right for persons with disabilities to participate in political and public life. In addition, Hungary’s new constitution defines the right to life for a fetus as the moment of conception, which Human Rights Watch says “could lead to efforts to overturn Hungary’s abortion law and result in restrictions on abortion that would put a number of fundamental rights for women at stake.” The constitution also defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and does not mention sexual orientation as being a protected ground of discrimination. This can effectively deny LGBT people the right to access state protection for the families and relationships and violate Hungary’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights which provides the right to marry and establish a family, and the European Union Charter on Fundamental Rights, which provides for non-discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, sexual orientation, and also protects the right to marry and found a family.

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