1. The Committee considered the third periodic report
of Hungary (CCPR/C/64/Add.2 and HRI/CORE/1/Add.11) at its 1240th
to 1242nd meetings, held on 15 and 16 July 1993, and adopted at
its 1259th meeting (forty-eighth session), held on 28 July 1993
the following comments:
2. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report
of Hungary, and expresses its appreciation to the State party for
the constructive dialogue engaged through a high-ranking delegation.
The report covered the important changes which have taken place
in that country since its transition to a multi-party democracy.
Although the report did not provide sufficient information on the
implementation of the Covenant in practice and on the factors and
difficulties affecting its implementation, the very comprehensive
additional information provided in the introductory statement, and
in the replies given by the delegation of Hungary to the questions
raised by the Committee, has enabled the Committee to have a clearer
picture of the overall situation in the country as to its compliance
with the obligations undertaken under the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes with satisfaction that extensive
reforms are currently under way in Hungary towards the development
of a new legal order and the establishment of democratic institutions.
The new legal framework which is emerging allows for an increasing
recognition of the human rights provisions set forth in the Covenant
and a better implementation of the obligations undertaken under
4. The Committee notes with particular satisfaction
the recent adoption of a law on the rights of national and ethnic
minorities; the provision according to which non-nationals permanently
settled in Hungary are entitled to vote in local elections; the
recently introduced legislative changes aimed at ensuring a better
access to the courts; the Act on the Parliamentary Ombudsman for
civil rights, as well as the draft legislation on states of emergency,
which takes into account the provisions of article 4 of the Covenant.
These and other recent developments clearly illustrate the commitment
of the Government of Hungary to comply with its obligations under
the Covenant and to establish the legal machinery for the protection
and enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the Convention
5. The Committee notes that remnants of the authoritarian
rule cannot be easily overcome and recognises that much remains
to be done, especially in the fields of education and training to
better familiarize judges, practising lawyers, law-enforcement officials,
and the public at large with the rights enshrined in the Covenant.
The Committee urges the State Party to intensify its efforts so
as to ensure that the various problems faced during the present
transitional period do not delay the implementation of civil and
political rights, in particular the freedom of association and participation
in the conduct of public affairs.
D. Principal subjects of concern
6. The Committee expresses its concern over the fact
that the Constitution and domestic law do not incorporate all the
rights enshrined in the Covenant, and that the status of the Covenant
in the Hungarian legal system is not clearly defined. In particular,
the Committee is concerned about the eventual conflict between a
provision of the Covenant which has not been incorporated into the
Constitution and a provision of domestic law.
7. The Committee is also concerned about the provisions
of the Hungarian legislation relating to pre-trial detention and
the procedure for bringing a defendant to trial and about excessive
duration of pre-trial detentions. These norms do not fully conform
with the relevant provisions of articles 9 and 14 of the Covenant.
The absence of an administrative court is also a matter of concern;
it most be noted, however, that in principal administrative decisions
can be appealed to the ordinary courts and that currently there
is a draft bill before the Parliament concerning the establishment
of administrative courts.
8. Similarly, the Committee wishes to express its
concern about the use of excessive force by the police, especially
against foreigners residing in Hungary and asylum seekers held in
detention. The Committee further expresses concern about the grounds
on which access to passports and travel abroad can be restricted,
in particular, the provision relating to holders of State secrets.
9. Concern was also expressed about the provisions
allowing for the expulsion of aliens from Hungary and the extent
of discretion in immigration law. Another area of concern is the
very low participation of women in the decision-making process and
the conduct of public affairs.
10. The Committee finally expresses its concern over
the persistent pattern of prejudice and discriminatory attitudes
towards certain minorities including, in particular, the Roma (gypsies),
as well as the occurrence of some incidents arising from hostility
and xenophobia towards aliens.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
11. The Committee recommends that the State party
should ensure that the provisions of the Covenant be fully incorporated
into domestic law or be given direct effect. The Committee also
emphasizes that the texts of the Covenant and the First Optional
Protocol should be widely publicized so that the judiciary, the
relevant governmental agencies, and the general public are made
fully aware of the rights enshrined in the provisions of these instruments.
Adequate training in human rights norms should be provided for members
of the judiciary and the legal profession, as well as police and
prison officials, and human rights education should be included
in the school and university curricula. Positive measures should
be taken to involve women in political participation and decision-making.
Laws on entry, residence, detention, and expulsion of aliens need
a thorough review. The Committee also recommends that attention
be paid in the present and future legislation, and in practice to
ensure that any limitations on human rights are strictly in conformity
with those permissible under the Covenant.