Freedom of Assembly

Litigation on the right to protest

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.

Speech is silver, silence is golden

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.

Civil Liberties Groups from 10 Countries Launch Coalition to Reshape Human Rights Landscape

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.

A Court had to Overturn the Actions of the Police and the Counterterrorism Center

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.” 

Human Rights Organizations from Across the Globe Call on UN to Protect Human Rights in the Context of Social Protest

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.

Pride is Free, Court Puts Police Back in Its Place

On 23 April the Tribunal of the Capiptal overruled and repealed the decision of the Budapest Police Chief, which had previously banned the Budapest Pride March. Similarly to last year, the court accepted the arguments of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union's lawyer and rejected the 13-page-long justification of the police. The court ruled that there is no valid legal reason to prohibit the Pride March on the announced route.