The organisation called out a variety of issues regarding the rule of law.
Submitting a public interest data request has been more difficult than ever. In the past, the data was issued within 15 days, but now the process can take up to 45 days. The pandemic is named as the reason behind it, as many requests have been turned in lately. It often takes a lawsuit to acquire the data. – RTL reported. They asked Bernadett Szél, an independent member of the parliament about the issue.
“As an independent member of the parliament, recently we have spent more time at court, than in the Hungarian Parliament. We see that the restraining or delayed transfer of public interest data is making it almost impossible to inspect the politics of the government.” – she said.
Human Rights Watch also expressed its concerns.
Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening all over the globe. They direct their advocacy towards governments; therefore, they refuse government funding. They also carefully review their donations so that they can remain independent. Human Rights Watch has recently criticised the Hungarian government, calling attention to a number of issues regarding the country’s politics. RTL writes that the civil organisation mentioned the LGBTQ community’s situation, the hardships independent media faces, negative discrimination against gypsies, and the fact that acquiring a refugee status is almost impossible in the country. The organisation also found it unacceptable that regulatory governance has been still in place due to the prolongation of the crisis. The Pegasus spyware, issues in the healthcare system, educational and workplace discrimination, and defamation campaigns against human rights defenders were also mentioned. In addition, Human Rights Watch called out the recent changes regarding universities. Many universities have been privatised and put under the control of government-led asset management foundations.
The summary on their website states that
“the government used the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext for attacks on the rule of law and democratic institutions. The government has made access to asylum close to impossible, interferes with independent media and academic freedom, and undermines the rights of women and LGBT people, including blocking the implementation of the Istanbul Convention that aims to prevent violence against women. Hungary’s Roma minority face widespread and systemic discrimination. Neglect of the public health care system and deficiencies in hygiene practices in hospitals creates grave health risks for patients and may contribute to the spread of Covid-19.”
Source: hrw.org, RTL