A Hungarian government note verbale, shared on Twitter by Zoltan Kovács, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations, has rejected what it called a “groundless offensive” by multiple European governments against Hungary over its new law on the protection of children and imposing stricter punishment for paedophilia, stating that the legislation was based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
In the note verbale, issued in response to a joint statement by 16 EU countries criticizing the law, the government said several EU governments had launched “a groundless offensive” against Hungary in recent days. Kovács said the signatories had not read the law and were not familiar with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. “Hungary rejects these attacks,” it said. The new law does not discriminate against anyone, the government said, adding that it was in line with EU law and was based on the regulations of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
“The Hungarian law protects children’s rights and guarantees those of the parents, it does not apply to adults,” the note said.
It said the joint statement cited the law incorrectly and left out substantive parts of the text. “The regulation put forward in the law protects children from all forms of sexuality, therefore it cannot be considered discriminative,” it added. The government underlined that the law prohibits “the autotelic display, in the case of children, of not only homosexuality, but also sexuality as a whole”. “Hence, the regulation is neither homophobic, nor heterophobic,” it said.
The note verbale cited the declaration in the EU Charter of Fundamental rights that “the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of such freedom and right.” In line with the EU Charter of Fundamental rights, sexual education in Hungary is primarily the task of parents, the government said. It added that everyone in the country was free to express their sexual identity, arguing that Hungarian laws guaranteed fundamental constitutional rights to all minorities, including sexual minorities.