U.N. to Hungary: 'Family Should be Interpreted as Including the Diversity of Families'

By Lauretta Brown | June 1, 2016 | 11:52 AM EDT



The United Nations building in New

York City, N.Y.  (AP) 


(CNSNews.com) – The United Nations Working Group On Discrimination Against Women released a statement on Friday, following a ten-day mission to Hungary, that encouraged the country “not to disguise gender discrimination under an ideology of conservative family values.”

The U.N. further stressed that “the formulation of family should be interpreted as including the diversity of families, recognized under international human rights law, and that it should never be used to undermine women’s reproductive rights.”

The Working Group’s statement references the recent amendments to Hungary’s Fundamental Law of 2011, which states that “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of survival of the nation.”

The Working Group also noted that Hungary’s law “further guarantees the right to life and dignity; the life of the foetus shall be protected from the moment of conception.”

The group of U.N. experts said “the family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State,” but added, “a conservative form of family whose protection is guaranteed as essential to national survival should not be put in an uneven balance with women’s political, economic and social rights and the empowerment of women.”

“The Group regards the implementation of women’s human rights and the empowerment of women in all fields of life as essential for the welfare of families,” the U.N. group said.

(AP photo.) 

“It also stresses that the formulation of family should be interpreted as including the diversity of families, recognized under international human rights law, and that it should never be used to undermine women’s reproductive rights,” said the U.N.

“As regards women’s reproductive health, the Group was informed that there are barriers in access to emergency contraception as a prescription is required,” the U.N. group wrote.

“Against the background of the constitutional protection of life from the moment of conception and the Act on the Protection of Foetal Life, we have been informed by interlocutors that women who require an abortion are in many cases subjected to hostile counseling during a mandatory waiting period of 3 days, contrary to the recommendations of the WHO [World Health Organization] and of the Working Group in its 2016 Report on Health and Safety,” claimed the U.N.

The group added that, “refusal of service providers on grounds of conscience to perform a termination of pregnancy is not regulated by law in accordance with the jurisprudence of international human rights treaty bodies.”

(AP photo.) 

The Working Group urged the Hungarian government “to make sure that legal abortion in Hungary is not obstructed by unnecessary waiting periods, hostile counseling or conscientious objection.”

Despite the possible obstructions to abortion access that the group noted, the statement adds that, “the Group was informed that there is a high number of abortions in Hungary, 1 out of 3 pregnancies as compared with 1 out of 5 in the EU. Therefore, the Group urges the Government to ensure that women’s access to contraception is affordable and accessible for all women and girls.”

The group also raised concerns over “gender stereotypes” in Hungary’s school curriculum.

The group claims they “were informed by interlocutors from the education sector that the new school books contain many gender stereotypes, depicting women almost exclusively as mothers and wives, and, in some cases, depicting mothers as less intelligent than fathers.”

“The Group strongly urges the Government to remove all gender stereotypes from school text books and to introduce effective teaching programmes in schools and in teachers’ training studies to eliminate ethnic and gender based discrimination,” they conclude.

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