U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Hungary
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Hungary, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa4834.html [accessed 6 May 2015]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
HUNGARYHungary is a parliamentary democracy with a freely elected legislative assembly. Prime Minister Gyula Horn, the leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, heads a coalition Government formed after the 1994 national elections. The Government respects the constitutional provisions for an independent judiciary. The internal and external security services report directly to a minister without portfolio, and the police report to the Interior Minister. There continued to be credible reports of police abuses, although their frequency has declined compared with previous years. The Government has demonstrated through its macroeconomic policies and extensive privatization its commitment to the transition to a market economy. The private sector generates about 75 percent of gross domestic product. Services, trade, and government employ about 63 percent of the labor force, and industry nearly 30 percent. Major exports include manufactured goods (41 percent) and machinery and transport equipment (39 percent). An estimated 25 percent of the population live in poverty, with elderly pensioners, dependent housewives and children, and Roma most affected. The Government generally respects human rights and civil liberties of its citizens; however, in practice the authorities do not always ensure due process in all cases. Prosecutors and judges may impose what amounts to unlimited pretrial detention, although the Government expanded legal provisions for the right to fair trial. Police on occasion enter private residences to check foreigners' identification without warrants. Although senior levels of the Interior Ministry and the National Police addressed problems in specific cases, police continued to use excessive force against suspects. Police harassed and abused both Roma and foreign nationals. The print media are completely privatized and enjoy a high degree of independence. The electronic media remain a mixture of state-run and private enterprises: the two largest stations are state owned, but in October three commercial stations began broadcasting. Opposition politicians and some journalists criticized what they termed the Government's media monopoly, the constraints it purportedly imposes on press freedom by economic pressure, and its discrimination against conservative media. However, there is no evidence of government interference with editorial content. Societal discrimination against Roma remains a serious problem. Anti-Semitic and racist attacks continued to decline. Spousal abuse of women, sexual harassment, and discrimination in the job market remain serious problems. Steps were implemented to improve the rights of women and persons with disabilities.