Everything you need to know about human rights in Hungary Amnesty International Amnesty International

Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. One woman, ‘Bernadett’, told Amnesty International how she was called into a meeting after telling her employer she was pregnant. “They told me that my salary was too high, so we could either sign a new contract with a lower salary, so I could go on maternity leave and get the benefits, or we should terminate the employment relationship.” She was forced to sign a contract and left the company. This has particularly affected pregnant women who find their contracts terminated once their employers learn of their pregnancy. Despite protections against such dismissals being enshrined in the Hungarian Labour Code, employers without any substantive evidence often allege inappropriate conduct by the employee or find another unjustified reason to allow them to terminate the pregnant worker’s contract.

  • According to the RCM, this program was highly promoted and claimed to be one of the most successful when it comes to Roma women.
  • While across the nine countries, according to the 2019 FRA survey, 34 percent of Roma men were employed, only 16 percent of Roma women were.
  • The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Hungary’s placement of asylum seekers in transit zones and its practice of pushbacks.

To prevent early pregnancies and dropping out of school among young Roma girls, the strategy states that the Bari Shej program will be continued to tackle these issues. As the Roma Civil Monitor has pointed out, this program was simultaneously useful and problematic. While the Bari Shej program pays special attention to Roma girls who come from disadvantaged background and are more likely to drop out of school due to the bad financial situation of their family, several of its elements have raised some concerns.

Timing of BC screening

A gender perspective or intersectional approach is completely missing from the rest of the objectives. While Roma women and girls are mentioned here and there in the strategic framework, there is a lack of discussion on how intersectionality and gender equality should be addressed in national strategies. The European Commission has attempted to highlight these issues, but how to address them is missing, which makes the new document quite weak when it comes to addressing the special needs of Roma women and girls. First, there was a lack of awareness and practical implementation of intersectionality in the strategy. Second, there was a strong tendency to blame Roma traditions and culture for the disadvantaged situation of Roma women and girls, which is very much linked to the anti-gypsyism in Hungarian society. Third, the evidence of homophobia, racism, and sexism in the HNSIS and its measure were serious concerns if the state wanted to improve the situation of Roma women and girls. It also set the horizontal objective of “reducing the educational and labor market disadvantages” of Roma and considered the needs of Roma women in most of the priority areas of the EU Framework for Roma Strategies.

In mainstream society, Roma culture and traditions are viewed as backward, oppressive for women and girls, not progressive, and often violent. Based on these assumptions, non-Roma society thinks that Roma girls and women need saviors in the form of mentors who guide them through these social and cultural characteristics. This kind of approach is racist and sexist because it makes false assumptions about Roma traditions without understanding their broader political, cultural, social, and economic context, and also because it ignores the agency of Roma women and girls.

While describing the situation of Roma girls, the HNSIS made a strong connection between particular gendered roles within the Roma community and the quality of educational opportunities. It argued that gendered factors such as women taking care of the whole household, raising children, and being under pressure to marry are common in Roma culture and traditions.

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Children from Roma families living in poverty continued to be separated from their families and placed in long-term state care, even though this practice is forbidden by the Hungarian Child Protection Act. Women often fear retaliation for reporting discrimination both internally to their employer and also through external legal avenues, such as lodging a complaint with the Equal Treatment Authority or taking a case to court. Internal complaints mechanisms are often non-existent or ineffective and there are often overwhelming barriers to external remedies. The situation of employees is often compounded by the fact that they are unaware that the employer has a duty to reinstate them in their original or equivalent role but that employers often choose to ignore these obligations, and therefore it rarely happens. For example, many employers refuse to accommodate employees’ requests to work part-time after returning to work from maternity or parental leave, despite a legal obligation on the part of the employer to do so. As reported by Euronews Hungary, a recent statement made by Hungarian President Katalin Novák, a close ally to Prime Minister Orban, had already led to speculation that abortion rules could soon be amended. Women wishing to get an abortion in Hungary will now be legally forced to listen to the fetus’ heartbeat, a new government decree states.

Hungary is a good case study for how gender has been taken into account in a national Roma integration strategy in the EU. It has one of the largest Roma populations in the EU, with Roma people having lived in and contributed to the country for centuries. In the past 12 years, Hungary has also become one of the most conservative and anti-Roma countries in Europe—paradoxically as it has expressed the commitment to improving the wellbeing of its Roma population in all fields of life. Beside the increase of anti-gypsyism in the country, anti-gender sentiments have been also appeared more and more frequently in the past decade. This has been reflected in the banning of gender studies and in anti-LGBTQA+ policies and measures, among other developments, since 2010, when the governing Fidesz party started to turn Hungary into an increasingly fascist state. This https://thegirlcanwrite.net/hungarian-women/ has happened as the same time as gender equality has become a top priority to the EU.

In March, the ECtHR ruled that detaining asylum seekers in areas known as “transit zones” qualified as unlawful detention. The case concerned an Iranian-Afghan family of five who were held in the Röszke transit zone in unsuitable conditions without food or proper medical treatment, which amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. This, combined with the lack of a statutory basis for detention and its duration, also amounted to unlawful detention. After an initial rejection of their asylum application, the applicants were recognized as beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. “Whilst the pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives, it should not be used as an excuse to further undermine the rights of women in the workplace. Above all, pregnancy or motherhood should not be treated as stigma in the 21st century workplace,” said Amnesty International Hungary Director, Dávid Vig.

There was no mention, though, of how racism, anti-gypsyism, and bad economic circumstances lead to gendered roles, which makes the argument weak and unreliable. This approach does not only ignore how anti-gypsyism and its negative effects reinforce certain gender roles in different communities; it also ignores the fact that there are many Roma girls and women who do not want to live in heterosexual relationships and resist gendered roles. However, there was no indication in it of how to tackle issues that leads to low educational performance, such as systematic oppression and challenging patriarchal structures among other things.

Although knowledge was insufficient in almost all fields of the questionnaire, the most prominent gap was observed concerning risk factors and signs and symptoms of BC both in laywomen and, unexpectedly, screening attendees. These results urge breast health and BC knowledge interventions in Hungary. These objectives also include action points and refer to state institutions, which makes it even more detailed and concrete. The inclusion of these missing areas could make a real difference in improving the situation of Roma women and girls in Hungary, since most of the inequalities that affect them originate during decision-making processes. Therefore, while Hungary’s Roma strategy offers some “treatment” for few symptoms, it does not address the real causes of inequalities concerning Roma women and girls in the way the Phenjalipe document does. Some of the RCM’s reports contained analyses of how the first Hungarian integration strategy targeted and carried out measures regarding Roma women and girls—this could be expanded now. The new coalition for the RCM has already started its work to monitor the measures and results of the country’s new strategy.

Even though it paid attention to the measures related to Roma women and girls, its third country report contained almost no reference to them. Moreover, the RCM coalition members included neither Roma women nor LGBTQA+ organizations. The lack of inputs of knowledge from Roma experts and of grassroots experience on these issues were obstacles to producing gender-aware and gender-reflective civil monitoring reports. It should be noted, however, that even Phenjalipe’s strategy lacks some actions for advancing certain groups of Roma women and girls. It does not address the concerns of older women, women living with disabilities, trans women, lesbian women, women living in rural areas, girls in segregated schools and areas, sex workers, and so on. These groups face additional oppression not only in the mainstream Hungarian society but also in the Roma communities.

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