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Illiberal Highlights of 2020

In 2020, the Hungarian government has continued to build its “illiberal state”, and has continued to erode the rule of law in Hungary in almost every area covered by the Article 7 procedure. Our paper presents the “illiberal highlights” that took place in Hungary in 2020.

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New Bills undermine the rights of LGBTQI people, freedom of information and fair elections

The same night when the Government ordered measures to counter COVID-19, it also submitted three Bills to the Parliament, the 9th Amendment to the Fundamental Law among them, that have nothing to do with the fight against the pandemic. Instead, the Bills curtail the rights of the LGBTQI community, undermine the state’s transparency, and shrink the possibilities of opposition parties in future elections.

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Rule of law developments between May-July 2020

In its Information Note, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee provides an overview of certain rule of law developments in Hungary between May and July 2020, covering concerns pertaining to the justice system and institutional issues related to checks and balances.

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Assessment of the Transitional Act

Amendments introduced as of 18 June by the so-called Transitional Act provide the Government excessive powers that can be applied with a reference to an epidemic, with significantly weakened constitutional safeguards. Other provisions for example on asylum, the powers of the military forces, and data protection also give rise to concerns, NGOs say.

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Hungary de facto removes itself from the Common European Asylum System

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on 14 May 2020 that Hungary’s practice of automatically placing the quasi-totality of asylum-seekers in closed land-border transit zones during the entire asylum procedure constitutes unlawful detention. As a reaction, the Hungarian government announced the introduction of a new asylum system.

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Chilling effect on the freedom of expression of Hungarian judges remains

A communication by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International shows that due to the legal and institutional structures created by the governing majority, the chilling effect on the freedom of expression of judges is encoded in the Hungarian court system, and Hungary has failed to adopt guarantees to avoid retaliation against judges voicing criticism in relation to the independence of the judiciary.

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