Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed concern on Wednesday over recent changes to the Hungarian constitution, highlighting a lack of resolve over issues surrounding weakened human rights protections in the country. After voting to adopt the amendments on Monday, HRW called the changes "largely cosmetic," accusing [press release] the Hungarian government of not taking human rights and rule of law problems seriously. The advocacy group centered their concern around issues dealing with religious discrimination, a lack of judicial independence and the role of the government in the oversight of political campaign advertising.
Hungary had been heavily criticized [JURIST op-ed] for the previous changes to its constitution. In June UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the Hungarian government to revoke the constitutional amendments after the release of a report by the Venice Commission criticizing [JURIST reports] the government's lack of transparency and disregard for human rights. Other constitutional changes that have been subject to criticism include restrictions on the homeless [JURIST report], increased control of the media and a strict, narrow definition of family. The new laws were controversial even when they were passed [JURIST report], and have been subject to ongoing scrutiny.