Hungarian President vetoes controversial law that targets LGBT people

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Katalin Novak vetoes anti-LGBTQ law

Hungarian President Katalin Novak has vetoed a controversial whistle-blower law that makes it possible to anonymously report rainbow families to authorities. The Hungarian Parliament approved the law earlier this month. 

In theory, the law transposes an EU directive protecting whistleblowers but it also allows citizens to report those who contest the “constitutionally recognized role of marriage and the family” and those who contest children’s rights “to an identity appropriate to their sex at birth.” 

"[The bill] does not strengthen but rather weakens the protection of fundamental values,” Novak wrote in a letter to the National Assembly. Hungarian lawmakers can still override Novak’s veto.

Hungary has never allowed gay marriage but recognizes civil union between same-sex couples. Until two years ago, gay couples could adopt if one partner applied for adoption as a single person. In 2020, the government changed the constitution to specify a parent-child relationship: “The mother is a woman, and the father is a man”, which ensures that now only heterosexual couples can adopt children. Single people could gain exemptions with special permission.

HRW: Pope Francis should stress equal treatment of refugees during Hungary visit

Pope Francis’ visit to Hungary from April 28-30 is an opportunity to call out the Hungarian government’s discriminatory practices towards refugees and migrants, Human Rights Watch says, stressing that Pope Francis urged the government to "extend its arms to everyone."

They recall the Hungarian government ignoring the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in 2022 and the European Court of Justice in 2020, authorities carried out 158,000 unlawful pushbacks last year, double the number in 2021.

"Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has left no stone unturned in making Hungary a hostile place for people seeking safety. The government has effectively dismantled the asylum system and engaged in unlawful, sometimes violent pushback at Hungary's border with Serbia. Those who do reach Hungary face a barrage of government-funded anti-migrant propaganda," the NGO's statement says. 

Former IIB chairman planned to secure personal offshore assets amid US sanctions

Nikolay Kosov, former chairman of the Russian-dominated International Investment Bank (IIB), and his family planned to move their assets, held in tax havens in the British Isles, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, according to documents obtained by a Hungarian investigative outlet Direkt36. Kosov and his wife had been corresponding with an investment adviser in Dubai and an accountant in Jersey who had been handling their offshore affairs for a while now. 

The investigation was published after the Hungarian government decided to exit the Russia-controlled International Investment Bank (IIB) after the United States imposed sanctions on three senior officials of the financial institution, including Kosov. Earlier this month, US Ambassador David Pressman said, "The presence of this opaque Kremlin platform in the heart of Hungary threatens the security and sovereignty of the Hungarian people, their European neighbors, and their NATO allies. (...)Unlike other NATO allies, Hungary has dismissed the concerns of the United States government regarding the risks its continued presence poses to the alliance,” the ambassador added. 

Orbán dismisses Ukraine’s NATO aspirations after alliance chief's statements

After NATO, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg declared that “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO,” during his visit to Kyiv last week, Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban responded in a short tweet to his comments:  What?!” 

Orban's dismissive comment on Ukraine’s NATO aspirations comes after Hungary has been blocking the high-level NATO-Ukraine Committee for the past six years.  Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto criticized the invitation of Ukrainian FM Dmitro Kuleba to the ministerial meeting of the NATO Alliance states in Brussels earlier this month."The invitation of Ukraine's foreign minister to the NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting is a violation of NATO's unity. Hungary will only support Ukraine's integration endeavors if they restore the rights of Hungarians in Transcarpathia," Szijjarto said.