Update to HUN32462.E of 29 July 1999 on the treatment of homosexuals (August 1999 - 2001) [HUN38283.E]

In a speech given at the opening of homosexuality-related events during an August 2001 student and pop festival in Budapest, Michael Lake, the ambassador of the European Union in Hungary, stated that homosexuals account for five per cent of Hungary's population (Hungarian Radio 1 Aug. 2001).

On 5 September 2001, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Hungarian government to revoke legal provisions of the penal code that it considers to be discriminatory against lesbians, gays and bisexuals (European Parliament 5 Sept. 2001, 85). The resolution made a specific reference to Article 199, which the European Commission of Human Rights had ruled was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ibid.).

In summer 2001, the Hungarian press provided wide coverage of a dispute between homosexual organizations and Istvan Tarlos, the mayor of Budapest's third district. A few weeks before the beginning of the cultural and musical Pepsi Sziget festival due to take place in Budapest in early August 2001, the organizers, under pressure from Mayor Istvan Tarlos (RFE/RL 17 July 2001; DPA 27 July 2001), signed an agreement with him and local police officials banning activities planned to be held during the festival by homosexual organizations (ibid.; The Budapest Sun 26 July 2001). According to the mayor, this move was necessary as he considered these activities to be "an unambiguous hazard for the young people" (DPA 27 July 2001). In a letter to festival organizers, the mayor also stated that "unfortunately, I cannot ban homosexuals from visiting the island because that would really be discrimination" (ibid.; The Budapest Sun 19 July 2001). However, the organizers apologized to homosexual organizations (MTI 16 July 2001) and backed out of the agreement with the mayor (ibid.; The Budapest Sun 26 July 2001). Asked by a number of gay and lesbian organizations to review the legality of the contract, a district court declared the latter discriminatory (DPA 27 July 2001) and issued a temporary injunction blocking the contract (The Budapest Sun 2 Aug. 2001). The mayor decided to appeal the court's verdict (DPA 27 July 2001). Many comments were made with regard to the dispute. While Budapest Mayor Gabor Demsky stated that the constitution granted legally registered civil organizations the right to be represented in public events (The Budapest Sun 26 July 2001), Justice Minister Ibolya David said that mayor Istvan Tarlos had not "abuse[d] his authority" by banning the activities (ibid. 2 Aug. 2001; Hungarian Radio 29 July 2001). According to Radio Free Europe//Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the district's governing boards of the FIDESZ and the Hungarian Democratic Forum publicly expressed their support for Mayor Istvan Tarlos' position (17 July 2001). The Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats, conservative) and the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF, conservative, christian-democratic) are both members of the ruling coalition (Electionworld.org 26 Dec. 2001). Commenting on the court's ruling, Gabor Kuszing, a representative of the Habeas Corpus Working Group, a Hungarian human rights organization, stated that

The injunction is historic in two senses. It is celebrated as a major victory of the human rights movement of sexual minorities in Hungary, since this is the first time that the collective rights of sexual minorities have been protected by the State.
The injunction is also unique because for the first time it directly interprets the Hungarian Constitution as defending the rights of sexual minorities (The Budapest Sun 2 Aug. 2001).

No information on the effects of the court decision could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

On 13 July 2001, the National Radio and Television Authority (ORTT) ruled that the TV programme "Sunday News" had regularly violated the media law by presenting topics in a manner that "spreads prejudices not only about Jews, but also - although not so regularly - about Romanies and other nations and groups (for example homosexuals)" (TV2 4 July 2001).

For information on the treatment of homosexuals in Hungary prior to July 2001, please see the following two reports. On 20 August 2000, the Hatter Society for Gays and Lesbians and the Labrisz Lesbian Association co-published Report on the Discrimination of Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals in Hungary. This report is available at http://www.steff.suite.dk/final%20hungary%20report.doc and in the IRB Regional Documentation Centres. The section on Hungary of a March 2001 report by the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) - Europe is also attached to this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Budapest Sun. 2 August 2001. Judith Finn. "Gays Win Civil Case Against Festival, Mayor." http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId={287D933728E34CE08F1401FE818C978C}&From=News [Accessed 2 Aug. 2001]

_____. 26 July 2001. Judith Finn. "Gay Groups Turn to Courts Over Festival." http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId={2007FF8189EE4A3499EF7B800472E877}&From=News [Accessed 27 July 2001]

_____. 19 July 2001. Judith Finn. "Festival Lift Gay Ban." http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId={C50F5A721206407FAF10B05D63126C5A}&From=News [Accessed 19 July 2001]

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA). 27 July 2001. Andrew Princz. "News Feature: Gay Debate Rocks Hungarian Rock Festival." (NEXIS)

Electionworld.org. 26 December 2001. "Elections in Hungary." http://www.electionworld.org/election/hungary.htm [Accessed 31 Dec. 2001]

European Parliament [Strasbourg]. 5 September 2001. State of Accession Negotiations With Hungary. A5-0257/2001. http://www3.europarl.eu.int/omk/omnsapir.so/calendar?APP=PDF&TYPE=PV2&FILE=20010905EN.pdf&LANGUE=EN [Accessed 31 Dec. 2001]

Hungarian Radio [Budapest, in Hungarian]. 1 August 2001. "Hungary: EU Envoy Opens Gay Event at Budapest Pop Festival." (BBC Monitoring 1 Aug. 2001/NEXIS)

_____. 29 July 2001. "Hungary: Justice Minister Approves Mayor's Banning Gay Event During Pop Festival." (BBC Monitoring 29 July 2001/NEXIS)

MTI [Budapest, in English]. 16 July 2001. "Gay Organisations Demonstrate Against Budapest District Chief." (NEXIS)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 17 July 2001. "Hungarian Homosexual Groups Protest Discrimination." http://www.rferl.org/newsline/2001/07/170701.asp [Accessed 31 Dec. 2001]

TV2 [Budapest, in Hungarian]. 4 July 2001. "Hungary: Death Threat to Chief of Radio Slot, Ruled Anti-Jew, Anti-Roma." (BBC Monitoring 5 July 2001/NEXIS)


International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) - Europe [Brussels]. March 2001. Equality for Lesbians and Gay Men. Chapter 5: Hungary. http://www.steff.suite.dk/ee-report.pdf [Accessed 28 Dec. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRD Databases

Habeas Corpus has not replied to a request for updated information.

Internet sources including:

Amnesty International (AI)

Human Rights Watch

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Queer Resources Directory

Rainbow Association for Gay Rights

Le séminaire gai

World News Connection (WNC)

Associated documents