Torture of Hungary's Children and Climate of impunity

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Mihály Molnár
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Torture of Hungary's Children and Climate of impunity

Generally, an effective remedy must be ‘effective’ in the sense that it must establish clearly whether a violation has taken place and provide actual redress.

There is unequivocal evidence that torture of children has a profound impact on the psychological and physical health and wellbeing of a detainee and NOT detainee, particularly for those with pre-existing mental health disorders an not mental health disorders. Child sexual abuse it can amount to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Nevertheless, torturers are seldom brought to court and torture survivors rarely receive any kind of redress as compensation for their suffering.

Torture, child sexual abuse has been consistently prohibited in international human rights and humanitarian law for more than half a century and has been condemned in a number of international conventions.

Despite this, torture and other forms of ill treatment is still a predominant and widespread occurrence and continues to be practiced in Hungary.

The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion: The prohibition is absolute and no exceptions, including situations of public emergency and war, may be evoked to legitimise the use of torture.

States Parties have an obligation to provide effective judicial remedies to victims of human rights violations, remedies that must be substantiated in accordance with the rules of due process of law, all in keeping with the general obligation of such States to guarantee the free and full exercise of the rights recognized by the Convention to all persons subject to their jurisdictions.

The major human rights conventions all contain provisions setting out the right to an effective remedy for violations of human rights. Article 2(3) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 provides an example:

Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:

 (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;

 (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.

Hungarian:
Az Egyezségokmányban részes minden állam kötelezi magát annak biztosítására, hogy - a. minden olyan személy, akinek az Egyezségokmányban elismert jogai vagy szabadságai sérelmet szenvednek, hatékony jogorvoslattal élhessen akkor is, ha a jogok megsértését hivatalos minőségben eljáró személyek követték el;  - b. a jogorvoslattal élő személy jogai tekintetében az illetékes bírói, államigazgatási vagy törvényhozó hatóság vagy az állam jogrendszere szerint illetékes más hatóság határozzon, és fejlessze a bírói jogorvoslat lehetőségeit;  - c. az illetékes hatóságok a helytállónak elismert jogorvoslatnak érvényt szerezzenek.

Article 13 European Convention on Human Rights sets out the right to ‘have an effective remedy before a national authority’ Generally, an effective remedy must be ‘effective’ in the sense that it must establish clearly whether a violation has taken place and provide actual redress.
Often, ineffective remedies regarding allegations of torture and ill-treatment can in themselves evidence that the practice is officially tolerated. For example In a recent judgment (Varga and Others v. Hungary issued on 10 March 2015)

Hungarian Court not elaborated on the obligation to provide an effective remedy to victims of human rights violations: lack of an effective remedy - ARTICLE 13 and
Right to an effective remedy of cases of torture.

States Parties have an obligation to provide effective judicial remedies to victims of human rights violations, remedies that must be substantiated in accordance with the rules of due process of law, all in keeping with the general obligation of such States to guarantee the free and full exercise of the rights recognized by the Convention to all persons subject to their jurisdictions

 According to this principle, the absence of an effective remedy to violations of the rights recognized by the Convention is itself a violation of the Convention by the State Party in which the remedy is lacking.

In that sense, it should be emphasized that, for such a remedy to exist, it is not sufficient that it be provided for by the Constitution or by law or that it be formally recognized, but rather it must be truly effective in establishing whether there has been a violation of human rights and in providing redress.

In light of this, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concluded that the - Article 3 European Convention -
on Human Rightstorture and other forms of ill treatment of lack of an effective remedy - Article 13 European Convention
on Human Rightsand Right to an effective remedy of cases of torture a structural problem in the country, and a pilot judgment was introduced.

The case, for example In a recent judgment (Varga and Others v. Hungary issued on 10 March 2015) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided not to adjourn the examination of similar pending cases in spite of the fact that a pilot judgment was adopted.  , when practice has shown its ineffectiveness: when the Judicial Power lacks the necessary independence to render impartial decisions or the means to carry out its judgments; or in any other situation that constitutes a denial of justice, as when there is an unjustified delay in the decision; or when, for any reason, the alleged victim is denied access to a judicial remedy.

Furthermore, an effective remedy entails the duty to investigate allegations of violations and a failure to investigate could, in relation to torture and ill-treatment, lead to a violation of the provision prohibiting torture as well as the provision setting out an effective remedy (see for instance
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case: The judgment concluded that: - ARTICLE 3
Prohibition of torture - "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment"  was violated, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment was violated Furthermore, the The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) set out that the  torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment in Hungary constitutes a structural problem, and the violation of Article 13 European Convention
on Human Rights, read in conjunction with Article 3 European Convention
on Human Rights. For example, figures from Hungary show that impunity for torturers is the rule rather than the exception.

>>"One of the applicants in the case, Lajos Varga, the client of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, spent for example 8 months in a cell where he had only 1.8 square meters of personal living space, he was granted only 30 minutes of outdoor stay per day in the course of his solitary confinement, and he suffered from skin disease due to the poor sanitary conditions. Personal living space in the cells of the remaining five applicants varied between 1.5 to 3.3 square metres, poor ventilation in certain cases lead to unbearable temperatures in the cell, in certain cases only a curtain separated the rest of their cell from the lavatory, access to shower was limited, and some cells were infected with cockroaches and bedbugs. According to the judgment, there are at present approximately more than 500! (2015) such applications before the The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in which the applicants complain about similar detention conditions as described above and about the overcrowding of Hungarian penitentiary institutions, and the The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had previously condemned Hungary for the violation of Article 3 European Convention on Human Rights in more cases."<<

On the basis of the above, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concluded that the overcrowding constitutes a structural problem, and decided to adopt a pilot judgment in the case, but no one perpetrators have been convicted.
 (A pilot-judgment procedure is initiated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) when complaints reveal in a country the existence of a structural or systemic problem or other similar dysfunction which has given rise or may give rise to similar applications, and the condemning judgments brought in the individual cases do not seem to press the country to address the problem.) In the pilot judgment the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) set out that Hungary should, generally, an effective remedy must be ‘effective’ in the sense that it must establish clearly whether a violation has taken place and provide actual redress.

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture)

The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines torture as: - Torture is always illegal. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
Abuse of care home,  child sexual abuse of care system for children in Hungary doesn’t have to be torture to be illegal. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is also illegal under international as the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment includes any harsh or neglectful treatment that could damage a detainee’s ans NOT detainee’s physical or mental health or any punishment intended to cause physical or mental pain or suffering, or to humiliate or degrade the person being punished.

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has been consistently prohibited in international human rights and humanitarian law for more than half a century and has been condemned in a number of international conventions.
Human Rights Defenders Circle has campaigned against torture:  
Our campaigning helped lead to the Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol, and it has helped lead to most UN member states joining the Convention. We take action in support of those who have and those who continue to experience torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

A press release of the ECtHR about the pilot judgment is available here in English.
Pilot judgment : http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-152784#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-152784%22]}

On 10 March 2015, the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in Varga & others v Hungary, finding a breach of Article 3 European Convention
on Human Rights "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment"

The decision is also notable, since it marks a departure in Strasbourg’s usual practice of suspending the resolution of pending cases before a pilot judgment is handed down.

Indeed, the judgment not only awarded each applicant substantial damages and their costs, it included a demand that urgent remedial measures be taken.

The underlying cause of the torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment appears to be a sharp rise in the number of prisoners most of not prisoners in Hungary who live psychiatric hospital, care home, Child care home. It is surely regrettable that the Hungarian court did not seize this opportunity to stipulate a blueprint for reform of Hungary’s court.

In a climate of impunity

In a climate of impunity, crimes of torture can be safely committed without perpetrators having to risk arrest, prosecution or punishment. When torturers are not held responsible, there is a risk that torture will de-generate into a widespread or systematic crime. As such, impunity remains an important impediment for the prevention of torture.

Often, the political will to end the vicious circle of impunity does not exist. One of the major challenges in fighting impunity is to obtain sufficient evidence in cases against alleged perpetrators. Most cases do not lead to justice for the torture survivor because the scars on his or her body have not been appropriately documented by doctors or used by lawyers in the legal proceedings.

 Human Rights Defenders Circle reminds that in October 2012! the Máté Szabó, Hungary's ombudsman (Civil rights ombudsman Máté Szabó) has forumalted several concerns regarding the sexual abuse that has happened at the Bicske care home.

Civil rights ombudsman Máté Szabó (2012) "has pointed out that the right of children to protection and care is violated if professionals do not report suspicion of sexual abuse - or do it much later. The report also pointed out that the children's legal representation was done by the deputy director, who is subordinated to the director, who was charged. This was deemed highly problematic."
A. Reference to: Hungary: Ombudsman's Inquiry related to the child-abuse case at the care home
B. The original source: http://childhub.org/en/child-protection-news/hungary-ombudsmans-inquiry-...
C. Series this is part of: Child sexual abuse

"Not alone, never forgotten: we stand with all those whose lives have been marked by torture" - Organisation: Human Rights Defenders Circle & Human Rights Defenders Center send new child abuse reporting to human rights defenders to help end torture and and end Climate of impunity:   - http://childhub.org/en/child-protection-forum-topic/child-survivors-tort... -
VICTIMS’ STORIES: Brutal cases but not without precedent in Hungary of Metropolitan Centre for Child Protection in 2016.
Reference to:

http://childhub.org/en/child-protection-forum-topic/child-survivors-tort...

Start new Multi-Disciplinary Team Work in Child Protection:
Document acts of torture and to investigate - http://childhub.org/en/child-protection-forum-topic/document-acts-tortur... - but have't any help for Hungarian Judicial Systems / police, prosecutor's, judicial arm, civil rights ombudsman, health care system / for this situation Special Thanks to - Child Protection Hub for South East Europe - for the publishing the article that
- Torture of Hungary's Children and Climate of impunity - and more ...

Human Rights Defenders Circle

17.11.2016

 

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