• A discriminatory constitution and a raft of laws adopted by the ruling Fidesz party undermine the judiciary, media, and other checks and balances on the government. After its law criminalizing homelessness was ruled unconstitutional, the government inserted similar provisions into the constitution itself. Hungary sends migrants and some asylum seekers who reach its borders via Ukraine back to that country despite evidence of ill-treatment there. Roma face harassment and threats from vigilante groups who march through Romani settlements.

  • European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. © Reuters 2012
    Amid economic crisis and much contested austerity measures in many member states, discrimination, racism, and homophobia remained serious problems in European Union member states.  Roma, migrants, and asylum seekers are particularly marginalized. The Council of the European Union acknowledged for the first time that more is needed to ensure human rights violations within EU borders are adequately addressed, with an ongoing policy debate focused on improving responses to rule of law crises. Meanwhile, abusive practices around the EU continued without adequate action by EU institutions and member states.



  • Mar 27, 2014
  • Jan 21, 2014
    European Union (EU) leaders in 2013 acknowledged problems of rising intolerance and persistent human rights violations across the EU, but failed to take concerted action, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014.
  • Nov 20, 2013
  • Nov 11, 2013
    It’s a haunting picture. Rozsa, a young woman staying at a shelter for domestic violence survivors we visited in the Hungarian countryside, looks straight into the camera, her eyes completely drowning in deep purple and blue, those colors of abuse. Staff at the shelter gave us the pictures and her case file. It looks like she was beaten repeatedly with a fist and a whip, the imprints visible on her behind, legs and back. But she looks defiant.
  • Nov 7, 2013
    I met Veronika, a 33-year-old woman from a small village in Hungary at a shelter for domestic violence survivors on a rainy day in March. She was initially terrified of talking to me, fearing that her partner would be able to identify and find her. She had visible knife wounds and cuts from lashes on her body, as well as scars she said were from sword cuts to her throat during years of violent abuse.
  • Nov 6, 2013
    Police inaction, ineffective restraining orders, insufficient shelter spaces, and legal and policy gaps leave women survivors of domestic violence in Hungary at risk of further abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • Nov 6, 2013
    “Andi,” beaten and bruised, managed to escape the apartment with her five children when her husband dashed out for more methamphetamine.
  • Oct 1, 2013
    A landmark ruling by a United Nations body found that Hungary’s voting laws are disenfranchising people with disabilities. The ruling applies to all 137 countries that have adopted the international disability rights treaty. These governments are required to review their laws and practices to eliminate any provisions that prevent people from voting due to their disabilities.
  • Oct 1, 2013
  • Sep 18, 2013
    Recent changes to the Hungarian constitution do little to address concerns set out by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. The changes leave in place provisions that undermine the rule of law and weaken human rights protection.