Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape of men or women, including spousal rape, is illegal. Although there is no crime defined as rape, the equivalent crimes are sexual coercion and sexual violence. These crimes include the exploitation of a person who is unable to express his/her will. Penalties for sexual coercion and sexual violence range from one year in prison to 15 years in aggravated cases.
The criminal code includes “violence within partnership” (domestic violence) as a separate category of offense. Regulations extend prison sentences for assault (light bodily harm) to three years, while grievous bodily harm, violation of personal freedom, or coercion may be punishable by one to five years in prison, if committed against domestic persons.
By law police called to a scene of domestic violence may issue an emergency restraining order valid for three days in lieu of immediately filing charges, while courts may issue up to 60-day “preventive restraining orders” in civil cases, without the option to extend. Women’s rights NGOs continued to criticize the law for not placing sufficient emphasis on the accountability of perpetrators.
The Ministry of Human Capacities continued to operate a 24-hour toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence and trafficking in persons to provide information and if necessary to coordinate the immediate placement of victims in shelters.
The ministry operated shelters for survivors of domestic violence. The government also sponsored a secret shelter house for severely abused women whose lives were in danger.
NGOs criticized the limited availability of proper victim support services.
Sexual Harassment: According to the law, harassment of a sexual nature constitutes a violation of the equal treatment principle, but is not a crime. According to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, 42 percent of women interviewed experienced some form of sexual harassment after the age of 15.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. A Eurostat study from March (based on data from 2014) showed that male executives earned 33.7 percent more than female executives in the same level of job. Women held 41 percent of senior executive positions. In higher education the ratio of women among students was 6.3 percent higher than that of men. According to The Economist, the percentage of women on boards of directors was 11 percent.
The Hungarian Women Lobby, the NANE Women’s Rights Association, and the Patent Association asserted that Romani women could suffer multiple forms of discrimination on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, and class, experiencing barriers to equal access in education, health care, housing, employment, and justice.
In December 2016 a Romani woman harassed by staff while giving birth at a public hospital in the northeastern city of Miskolc won a case at the Equal Treatment Authority. In February 2016 hospital staff subjected her to verbal harassment and racial slurs. During labor the midwife yelled at her “if you shout once more, I will push the pillow into your face.” When the woman apologized, the doctor said to her “if you had shouted once more I would have called the psychiatrist to take the child away and then you wouldn’t receive child benefit, because anyway, you gypsies give birth only for the money.” The Equal Treatment Authority decided that the hospital violated the woman’s dignity and right to equal treatment based on her ethnicity. This was the first case before the authority involving harassment based on ethnicity in the area of health care. The hospital was required to publicize the decision and pay a fine.
Birth Registration: An individual acquires citizenship from a parent who is a citizen. Births were registered immediately. NGOs argued that the law provides only partial safeguards against statelessness at birth because all children of foreign parents born in the country are registered on birth certificates as of unknown nationality. In addition, they argued that children born to stateless parents or to noncitizen parents who cannot pass on their nationality to their children were in some cases born and remained stateless.
Education: Although the law provides for free and compulsory education between the ages of three and 16 and prohibits school segregation, NGOs reported the segregation of Romani children in schools and frequent misdiagnosis of Romani children as mentally disabled.
In November 2016 the Appeals Court of Pecs adopted a decision ordering the desegregation of a Roma-only school in Kaposvar. Despite the judgment, the municipality of Kaposvar, in cooperation with the local school authority and the county government, attempted to restore segregation by allowing and supporting a private foundation to establish a new school in the same building in which the segregated school was operating. The municipality proposed to offer education in a private school for the Romani children residing in the close vicinity of the building and thus avoid their integration into mainstream schools. The Ministry of Human Capacities intervened to prevent the private school from opening. On October 4, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling that segregation is illegal and ordered the desegregation of the school.
In 2015 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 62 children against the municipality of Gyongyospata and the Klebelsberg School Maintenance Center for their segregation in the primary school in Gyongyospata, for damages stemming from the low quality of their education, and for nonpecuniary damages related to their segregation. The lawsuit was pending at year’s end.
According to the Roma Education Fund, 20 percent of Romani children attained a secondary school diploma (compared with 80 percent of non-Romani children) and only 2 percent obtained university diplomas in 2015. According to the EC’s Roma integration indicators scoreboard (2011-16), the percentage of Romani students ending education and training early decreased from 78 to 68 percent.
Child Abuse: According to experts, approximately 10 percent of children under the age of 18 were beaten or assaulted. Experts generally noted significant regional disparities, with higher rates of child abuse occurring in eastern and northern sections of the country.
Efforts to combat child abuse included a “child protection signaling system” to detect and prevent the endangerment of children, law enforcement and judicial measures, restraining orders, shelters for mothers and their children, and removal of children from homes deemed unsafe. In the example involving the death of an 18-month-old girl in Gyongyos, in September 2016 the ombudsman released a report that established serious and repeated omissions by the pediatrician, the child welfare center, and the guardianship authority in the case, leading to a failure to prevent her death from starvation.
In 2016 parliament amended the law with a provision stating that, if a parent does not “cooperate” with the doctors, district nurses, teachers, or family supporters in the signaling system, it automatically constitutes gross endangerment, even without any other signs of negligence or endangerment.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18. The Social and Guardianship Office may authorize marriages of persons between the ages of 16 and 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Buying sexual services from a child younger than 18 is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. Forcing a child into prostitution is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The law prohibits child pornography. The statute of limitations does not apply to sexual crimes against children. The government generally enforced the law.
The minimum age for consensual sex is 12, provided the older partner is 18 or younger. Persons older than 18 who engage in sexual relations with a minor between the ages of 12 and 14 may be punished by one to five years’ imprisonment. By law statutory rape is a felony punishable five to 10 years’ imprisonment if the victim is under the age of 12.
Law enforcement authorities arrested and prosecuted children exploited in sex trafficking as misdemeanor offenders. NGOs strongly criticized this practice, which blames the children for “prostituting themselves.”
Institutionalized Children: A study in Nograd county commissioned by the European Roma Rights Center published in February 2016 showed that 80 percent of the children in state care in the county were of Romani origin.
The ombudsman expressed concerns that relevant professional experience was not required for persons working in child-care institutions.
NGOs also criticized the lack of special assistance for child victims of human trafficking.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to the 2011 census, 10,965 persons identified their religion as Judaism. According to estimates from the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish population numbered between 35,000 and 120,000 persons. The overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Budapest.
The Brussels Institute, founded by TEV, registered 10 cases of vandalism, one threat, and 37 incidents of hate speech during 2016.
During the year TEV published its 2016 annual report which concluded that approximately one-third of the population held anti-Semitic views.
Numerous extreme websites continued to publish anti-Semitic articles.
As part of the ongoing campaign to portray George Soros as being behind mass migration, in June a government-sponsored billboard campaign featured an enormous picture of Soros. Billboards were defaced with the graffiti “stinking Jew” written on Soros’s face. Jewish groups expressed fear that public discourse targeted against a certain group in the society, like against migrants and Islam, could spread to include other minorities or religious groups.
At the European Parliament in May, Prime Minister Orban described George Soros, as a “financial speculator attacking Hungary” who has “destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans.” Frans Timmermans, vice president of the EC, stated that he found Orban’s language anti-Semitic. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto publicly asserted that the government’s disputes with George Soros have “absolutely nothing to do” with his Jewish origins.
Jewish groups expressed concerns about Prime Minister Orban’s praise for World War II-era anti-Semites and Hitler allies and about public messaging that could incite anti-Semitism.
On June 17, a bust in tribute to Regent Miklos Horthy was unveiled in the courtyard of Attila Hotel and Restaurant in Budapest’s Third District. Horthy’s bust was also unveiled in the park of the private Zichy-Szechenyi castle in Kaloz, Fejer county, on May 20. In October a bust of Horthy-era politician Gyorgy Donath was erected in the courtyard where he was executed in 1947.
On June 21, Prime Minister Orban asserted that it was due to “exceptional statesmen,” including Regent Horthy and Minister Kuno von Klebelsberg (a former minister of interior and minister of culture during the interwar period who made statements blaming Hungarian Jews for the country’s political instability), that “history did not bury Hungary.” Andras Heisler, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Hungary, responded that Horthy could not be called an “exceptional statesman” due to the era of anti-Semitism associated with his name and his responsibility for the deaths of 600,000 Jews and tens of thousands of soldiers.
The government’s effort to establish a new Holocaust museum and education center focusing on child victims, the House of Fates, remained pending for a third year. Some Jewish groups and historians criticized the museum as an attempt to obscure the involvement of Hungary and Horthy in the Holocaust and stressing instead the role of Hungarian rescuers. Senior government officials repeatedly issued assurances that the museum would be opened only if Jewish community representatives reached a consensus agreement on the content of museum exhibits.
On July 18, during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Prime Minister Orban declared that Hungary’s failure to protect its Jewish citizens during World War II was a crime.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt.
Persons with Disabilities
The constitution and the law prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, or the provision of other state services.
In harmony with the law, both the central government and municipalities continued to renovate public buildings to make them accessible to persons with disabilities. There were no data available on the percentage of government buildings that complied with the law, but NGOs asserted that many public buildings remained inaccessible. NGOs also noted that public transportation had limited accessibility. NGOs claimed public elementary schools are not obligated to enroll children with disabilities. The National Federation of Disabled Persons’ Associations criticized the lack of accessible dormitory space for persons with disabilities at higher educational institutions.
The government continued to implement its 30-year (2011-41) strategy to reduce the number of persons with disabilities living in institutions with capacities greater than 50 persons. Between 2007 and 2013, approximately 600 of 23,000 such persons moved to group homes or smaller institutions with up to 30 beds. NGOs claimed, however, that the strategy covered only 10,000 of the 23,000 persons with disabilities living at large institutions and criticized the sustainability of newly created supported living facilities and the lack of transparency in monitoring processes and the risk of new group homes functioning as large institutions.
The constitution provides that a court may deprive persons with disabilities who are under guardianship of the right to vote due to limited mental capacity. This was criticized by the international NGO Mental Disability Advocacy Center as an “unsophisticated disguise for disability-based discrimination.”
NGOs noted that polling places were generally not accessible to persons with disabilities. The law also provides persons with physical disabilities the option of requesting a mobile ballot box.
The lead agency for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities is the Ministry of Human Capacities. On May 4, it announced that a special inquiry at the Tophaz home for the mentally and physically disabled in God, north of Budapest, found residents were malnourished; many were kept in chains; and others had open, untreated wounds, while some of the home’s 220 children were tied to their beds or made to wear straitjackets. The ministry suspended the director of the home and stated it had plans to close the facility.
In July the ombudsman announced finding that the state was failing in its duty to provide suitable and accessible education for students with disabilities in violation of international agreements. The ombudsman found that, as the state had no data on the exact number of students with disabilities, it failed to establish institutions to serve them, and that there was a lack of properly trained teachers.
Roma were the largest ethnic minority. According to the 2011 census, approximately 315,000 persons (3 percent of the population) identified themselves as Roma. Unofficial estimates suggested the actual figure was between 500,000 and 800,000 persons. Human rights NGOs continued to report that Roma suffered social and economic exclusion and discrimination in almost all fields of life.
According to the EC’s Roma integration indicators scoreboard (2011-16), one-third of Roma lived in households with no toilet, shower, or bathroom. Media reported that the municipal council in Kisvarda offered a nonrefundable grant of 1.5 million forints ($5,400) to tenants of government-provided housing–mainly underprivileged Romani families–if they terminated their lease contracts by mutual consent and did not apply for social housing or rent any other property in the town for 15 years.
In January the ECHR ruled that police failed to provide adequate protection to two Romani individuals who were attacked with stones and bottles during a demonstration by Jobbik and paramilitary groups in Devecser in 2012 or to conduct a proper investigation of the incident.
In February the Supreme Court ruled that local police in Gyongyospata had discriminated against the local Romani community in 2011 by failing to protect them against harassment by extremist groups.
The public education system continued to provide inadequate instruction for members of minorities in their own languages as required by law, and Romani-language schoolbooks and qualified teachers were in short supply.
According to the Ministry of Human Capacities, in 2016 some 280,000 Roma lived in approximately 1,384 settlements where at least half the population were Roma. In 2016 the government continued a 45-billion-forints ($162 million) settlement rehabilitation program to improve the living conditions of residents of segregated settlements.
The law establishes cultural autonomy for nationalities (replacing the term “minorities”) and recognizes the right to foster and enrich historic traditions, language, culture, and educational rights as well as to establish and operate institutions and maintain international contacts.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. In addition, the law prohibits certain forms of hate speech and prescribes increased punishment for violence against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.
On July 8, the Budapest Gay Pride Parade was permitted to proceed along open streets, rather than a route sealed by fences, for the first time in 10 years. Attendance was officially estimated at more than 10,000. Several counterdemonstrations occurred.
In July the Budapest-Capital Regional Court convicted five men of intimidation for assaulting three men who took part in the Budapest pride parade in 2013.
In April the Constitutional Court ruled that the town of Asotthalom’s 2016 ban on activity promoting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The court stated local authorities may not pass regulations affecting a basic right directly or restricting it.
A January report by the ombudsman for fundamental rights noted that registered same-sex partners were entitled to the same tax benefits as married couples.