Statement on the Hungarian veto of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child

On the 30th anniversary of Hungary’s signature on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government vetoed that the rights enshrined in the Convention shall be supported by a common European Union strategy.

Just to be clear: a government that emphasizes child protection has undermined with its veto the protection of children in the European Union. With this step, the government not only betrayed Hungarian children, but also the children of the European community of which it is a member and for which it is also responsible. It also betrayed the ten thousand children who were involved in the development of the strategy by voicing their opinions.

We find it unacceptable that as a member of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Hungarian government has vetoed the adoption of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child by citing “school propaganda of LGBTQ activists” as a reason, even though this issue is not even mentioned in the strategy.

Hungary does not have a similar strategy on the rights of the child, despite the fact that professional organizations and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have been advocating for it for years. Even 30 years after the signing, Hungary still has serious shortcomings in complying with the Convention and its public awareness. Our knowledge of children’s rights is the lowest in the EU, it is not included in the national curriculum, not taught to teachers, and even at law school it is only an optional subject.

Yesterday marked Hungary’s signature of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on 7th October 1991. This has committed Hungary to ensuring that children can grow up in a safe, supportive environment and that the state provides the necessary conditions for their healthy growth and for the development of all their potentials. This has now been jeopardized.

Our foundation, as a member of the Child Rights NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child, also supports the adoption of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child. On the basis of the statement formulated by the Coalition, we ask the representatives of the Government to change their position in order to protect the rights of Hungarian children and of all children. The petition launched by the Civil Coalition for the adoption and implementation of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child can be signed here.

The veto was also condemned by Eurochild in its statement, highlighting that all 27 EU Member States are part of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The international organization played a major role in the preparation and adoption of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, and involved children in its development and assessment. Eurochild is counting on the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union to secure the support of the Member States and the EU Council for the strategy.

Image from here.