Instead of controlling the pandemic, Hungarian government launches crusade against LGBTQI people

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11/10/2020

Tuesday was an eventful day at Parliament. The Judicial Committee of the Parliament initiated the abolishment of the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA), Hungary’s most important equality body set up in 2005. The ETA has a broad mandate to investigate cases of discrimination on grounds of sex, race/ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. In recent years the ETA was one of the last public bodies standing up for the rights of LGBTQI people in Hungary: they have delivered several decisions finding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by public bodies, and in April 2020 they criticized the Government’s plan to ban legal gender recognition. According to the proposal, the tasks of the Equal Treatment Authority will be taken over by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. Since September 2019, this position has been held by Ákos Kozma, former professor of Pázmány Catholic University, a loyal supporter of the government. As opposed to his predecessor, the new Commissioner has not commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in May 2020, and has not responded to official petitions submitted by LGBTQI organizations concerning the ban of legal gender recognition, growing homophobic hate speech by government officials and restricting LGBTQI freedom of expression.

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