Opposition parties urge promulgation of Istanbul Convention
The opposition Socialists have called on Hungary’s political parties and politically active civil groups to support the promulgation of the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic abuse and combatting violence against women in Hungary while green LMP has called on the government to “do everything it can” for its ratification.
Zita Gurmai, head of the women’s chapter of the Socialist Party and party lawmaker Ildikó Borbély Bangó told a press conference on Saturday marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that the issue “must not fall prey to political battles”.
On this subject, it should not matter where one stands on the political spectrum, Gurmai said. One-fifth of women in Hungary are victims of sexual abuse, she added.
On average, one woman dies every week and one child every month as a consequence of domestic violence, she said.
Gurmai said it was “unacceptable” that the government was idle on this issue. She said the reason why the government had not ratified the Istanbul Convention was because it would mean that Hungary’s institutional system would also have to change. It would also mean that the police and the prosecution would have to learn how to be more effective in cases concerning violence against women.
“But this cannot be an excuse in a country that has money for stadiums, moving government offices and billions to spend on having swimmers jump into the Danube,” Gurmai said.
Borbély Bangó noted that the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance earlier this week said it would not ratify the convention on the ground that it goes against “traditional family values”. She insisted that this argument was tantamount to Fidesz-KDNP saying that they “support violence against women, children, the mentally disabled and pensioners within the traditional family model”.
LMP lawmaker Márta Demeter told a separate press conference that her party expects the government to do everything it can for the ratification of the convention over the coming months.
At the least, it should adopt a package of measures and a strategy to better prepare Hungary’s institutional system for the ratification, she said.
Demeter said that although “there have been minimal legal changes” aimed at combatting violence against women, “it is clear that legal changes are necessary but not enough to solve the problem”.
She said that while there were 158 cases of domestic violence registered in 2014, by 2016 there were 391. Meanwhile, 90 percent of domestic violence cases are not even reported, she said.
“Things have not got any better with regards to victim-blaming, either,” Demeter added.
She said that a social debate had started with more and more people sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse over the recent period. “This is why the government would have an even greater responsibility to adopt and ratify the Istanbul Convention, which would help victims and prevent such cases,” Demeter added.