Lawmakers from the opposition Socialist Party, green LMP and independent MPs called for Hungary’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic abuse and combatting violence against women at a joint press conference on Tuesday.
Ildikó Borbély Bangó of the Socialists said that on average one woman dies every week and one child every month as a consequence of domestic violence in Hungary. One fifth of women are victims of sexual harassment, she added.
LMP deputy group leader Erzsébet Schmuck noted that the Hungarian government had signed the Istanbul Convention three years ago, adding that its ratification would cost no more than 8 billion forints (EUR 25.7m). Schmuck said that a cabinet member had promised that the convention would be ratified during parliament’s autumn session.
The Istanbul Convention contains protocols on domestic violence prevention, increasing social awareness of the issue, penalising domestic abusers and protecting abuse victims.
Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd (Dialogue) said that the first step in violence against women was society turning a blind eye to things like the Hungarian “sugar daddy dating site” puncs.hu targeting young women. Szabó said the website’s ads were financed by European Union funds, adding that such a “high level link between public funds and the encouragement of prostitution” sent the message that it was okay for women to be objectified.
Independent MP Zsuzsanna Szelényi said that sexual harassment concerned not just celebrities but also students and working women, adding that it must be combatted.
Ruling Fidesz said in reaction that the opposition was combatting violence against women in rhetoric only and for the sake of the election campaign but when they had a chance to act, they did not support stricter penalties for abuse against women. Hungary’s ruling parties have put together one of Europe’s strictest penal codes which places high emphasis on the protection of women and children, Fidesz said in a statement. Parliament is already discussing the ruling parties’ latest bill on child protection, it said.