The Republic of Ireland has joined 12 other EU member states in formally expressing their “grave concern” about amendments adopted in the Hungarian Parliament “which discriminate against LGBTIQ persons and violate the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children.”

Ireland's Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, TD gave Ireland’s support to the declaration at the General Affairs Council Meeting in Luxembourg on June 22.

The joint statement co-signed by Ireland says: "We express our grave concern about the adoption by the Hungarian Parliament of amendments which discriminate against LGBTIQ persons and violate the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children.

"These amendments to a number of Hungarian laws (Child Protection Act, Act on Business Advertising Activity, Media Act, Family Protection Act and Public Education Act) introduce a prohibition of the 'portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality' for persons under 18.

"It represents a flagrant form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression and hence deserves to be condemned. Inclusion, human dignity, and equality are core values of our European Union, and we cannot compromise on these principles.

"These amendments also violate the freedom of expression, by limiting the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference by public authority, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

"Stigmatizing LGBTIQ persons constitute a clear breach of their fundamental right to dignity, as provided for in the EU Charter and international law.

"Beyond the discussions taking place at the General Affairs Council, we urge the European Commission as Guardian of the Treaties to use all the tools at its disposal to ensure full respect for EU law, including by referring the matter to the ECJ. 

"We stand to protect the rights of all EU citizens."

On June 15, the Hungarian National Assembly passed a bill on “stricter measures against paedophile criminals and on amending legislation related to the protection of children” by a 157 to 1 vote. 

The Bill will now be sent to the President for signing, but it is possible for the President to refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court for consideration.

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday: "The new legislation further stigmatises the LBGTQI community in Hungary and will have a chilling effect on NGOs advocating for LGBTQI rights and organisations who support these issues."

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he "strongly urges Hungary to reconsider this new law and cease discrimination against LGBTQI+ people."

Minister @simoncoveney has expressed his concern about recent changes to Hungary’s laws.

"The potential for this legislation to harm the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQI+ community in Hungary, particularly young people, is extremely worrying." pic.twitter.com/z1r2onhvne

— Ireland in Hungary (@irlembbudapest) June 22, 2021

TD Thomas Byrne said on Tuesday: “I wholeheartedly endorse this declaration initiated by the Benelux member states that criticises this most recent anti-LGBTQI+ turn by Hungary. Legislation of the kind recently introduced by the Hungary Assembly has no place in the European Union. 

“The EU is founded on fundamental values including equality and respect for human dignity and human rights; this bill is an affront to these principles. I once again urge Hungary to reconsider this measure.

"I echo the Declaration’s call for the European Commission to use all of the tools at its disposal to ensure Hungary respects EU law.” 

I met with 🇧🇪 Deputy PM @Sophie_Wilmes and 🇳🇱 FM @SigridKaag this morning where I agreed to join their joint statement condemning recent anti-LGBT legislation in Hungary. The legislation is disgraceful and has no place in the EU pic.twitter.com/w66tUDncWM

— Thomas Byrne (@ThomasByrneTD) June 22, 2021

Ireland’s Tanaiste Leo Varadkar welcomed Ireland’s support on the matter:

Glad that Ireland is joining the #Benelux statement expressing our opposition to Hungary’s new anti-LGBT laws. #Hungary is a great #European country with wonderful people & a proud history.  European values include equality before the law & individual freedom of expression 🇭🇺🏳️‍🌈🇪🇺

— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) June 22, 2021

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