BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary’s law that bans teaching about homosexuality and transgender issues in schools violates international human rights standards, the Venice Commission, a panel of experts of the human rights body Council of Europe said on Tuesday.
The legislation, which passed in June and has caused anxiety in the LGBTQ+ community and triggered sharp criticism from the European Union, bans the use of materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change at schools, ostensibly as a measure to prevent child abuse.
The constitutional law experts of the Venice Commission concluded that the amendments are not in accordance with international human rights standards and fail to ensure that children get access to objective and non-biased information on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“On the contrary: the amendments contribute to creating a “threatening environment”, where LGBTQI children can be subject to health-related risks, bullying and harassment,” the panel said in its assessment.
“The amendments leave space only for one-sided and biased teaching, opening doors to stigmatisation and discrimination of LGBTQI people,” the panel added.
The law was proposed by the government of nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban who is casting himself as the defender of traditional Christian values against “LGBT ideology” for the 2022 election in which his Fidesz party may be vulnerable for the first time to a newly united opposition.
Orban’s anti-LGBT campaign escalated in July and August with government billboards that sprang up around the country trumpeting the question: “Are you afraid your child could be exposed to sexual propaganda?”
His ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat government, which faces a tough election next year, says LGBTQ rights and other such social issues are matters for national governments to decide. It says the law aims to protect children, not target the LGBTQ+ community.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)