Two actions were launched by the HCLU regarding the right to peaceful assembly in December, 2013. Both actions concern to the same problem: lockdown of a public area around the Prime Minister's residence. In the first case, the police dispersed an ongoing peaceful demonstration on the grounds of closing off the area, for which the organizer filed a claim against the police with the help of HCLU. In the other case, another demonstration planned by the same organizer at the same venue was banned by the court, which was then challenged before the Constitutional Court. Both decisions are ill-unfounded and misinterpret the constitutional limitations of the right to protest.
Instead of struggling with corruption the government is battling accusations from whistleblowers. An ex-tax surveyor, András Horváth, alleges that the tax authorities have a more lenient stance towards accentuated preferential tax payers. Consequently, it has caused trillions of forints in state debt. The people who reported may expect retaliation coming their way.
In response to increasing restrictions on personal freedoms and civil protest, independent national human rights organisations from ten countries today launched the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO). They also released “Take Back the Streets: Repression and Criminalisation of Protest Around the World,” a collection of nine case studies showing patterns of police crackdown and abuse against peaceful assembly, accompanied by concrete recommendations to expand free speech.
The Metropolitan Court of Budapest invalidated the decision of Budapest’s chief police officer that effectively banned an announced demonstration at the Prime Minister’s residence. The decision also found that closing the area, in order to prevent the demonstration, violated the law. The HCLU welcomes the decision by the court which stated that “limiting a peaceful demonstration because it is held in the presence of a high level official but otherwise serves as an expression of a political opinion is unnecessary in a democratic society.”
March 20, 2013 GENEVA – As the United Nation’s Human Rights Council prepares to debate a draft motion on social protest, human rights organizations from around the world have joined their voices to call on the UN to provide meaningful protection for this essential democratic right.