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Hungarian Prof. Máté Szabó Spoke about Human Rights Protection Network in Europe

On November 20, former Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary Máté Szabó visited the Control Yuan to talk about “The Human Rights Network in Europe and Hungarian Constitution”. Control Yuan Members Louis Chao and Chou Yang-sun sat through the entire session.

Prof. Szabó said that European Union may appear on the outside all good and prosperous. On the inside, however, human rights violation is a common problem. Throughout Europe, disabled persons, Romas, and LGBT groups are often being marginalized and discriminated against. The many human rights institutions in the region are not working collaboratively as they should, but rather competing for limited resources from time to time. The biggest problem lies in the absence of a superior law to regulate legislation in individual member states and prevent potential human rights violation. An earlier attempt to ratify European Constitution was brought to an end for fears of undermining sovereignty.

Prof. Szabó used the Fundamental Law of Hungary passed two years ago as an example. He pointed out that many articles in the new constitution infringe upon human rights. For instance, texts granting certain civil rights to LGBT partners in the old constitution were replaced by an article stating marriage as a relation solely between a man and a woman. The new constitution is full of controversies that prompted the EU to issue a warning. Unfortunately, the lack of international law has allowed Hungary to go about its own way.

This is the second time that Prof. Szabó has spoke at the Control Yuan. On March 12 this year, Prof. Szabó also delivered a talk introducing the ombudsman system in Hungary. He has returned to his teaching post in university following his retirement from the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in September this year. Now that he no longer works for the government, he will have more freedom to be objectively critical towards government actions, Prof Szabó said.

At the end of the session, Prof. Szabó presented to Vice President of the Control Yuan Chen and Convener of the Human Rights Protection Committee, Chen Jinn-Lih, an illustrative hardcover of the Parliament House of Hungary. In return, Vice President Chen also gave Prof. Szabó with a decorative paper weight to commemorate the occasion.