1. The case originated in an application (no. 57693/10) against the Republic of Hungary lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Hungarian national, Ms Matild Kalucza (“the applicant”), on 25 September 2010.
2. The applicant was represented by Ms G. Zsemlye, a lawyer practising in Budapest. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr L. Höltzl, Agent, Ministry of Public Administration and Justice.
3. The applicant complained that the authorities had failed to respect her rights under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Convention insofar as they did not comply with their positive obligations, as a result of which she was forced to live with a person who constantly abused her physically and psychologically.
This report discusses the insurmountable barrier confronted by girls and women seeking justice for rape in Hungary. It outlines the current situation in Hungary, including statements from interviewees, and details a series of recommendations from Amnesty Intenational to the Hungarian government.
Andrea Szijjarto was sterilized without her informed consent by a Hungarian hospital during an emergency cesarean section procedure. While in a state of shock due to blood loss, Szijjarto was asked to provide her written consent to tubal ligation by signing an illegible hand-written note describing the procedure in terms she did not understand. Szijjarto charged the hospital with negligence in failing to obtain her full and informed consent to the coerced sterilization. Both the town and county courts held that the hospital was at least partially negligent in its legal duties to Szijjarto, but rejected her claim and appeal for failure to prove a lasting handicap and causal relationship between permanent loss of reproductive capacity and the conduct of the hospital’s doctors. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women held that Hungary violated Szijjarto’s rights under article 10(h) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on access to information on family planning, article 12 guaranteeing women appropriate medical services in connection with pregnancy, and paragraph 1(e) of article 16 on a woman’s right to freely choose the number and spacing of her children. The Committee recognized the serious consequences of coercive practices including forced sterilization under its General Recommendation No. 21, and held that the Hungary had violated Szijjarto’s right to information on family planning and the sterilization procedure. The Committee also held that lack of informed consent constituted a breach of the obligation under article 12 and General Recommendation No. 24 to ensure the delivery of acceptable medical services in a manner that respects a woman’s dignity. Accordingly, the Committee recommended the State provide compensation to Szijjarto and amend its Public Health Act allowing doctors’ discretion to administer sterilization procedures when “appropriate in given circumstances.”
The A.S. v. Hungary (C/36/D/4/2004)complaint was filed under the Optional Protocol to CEDAW on behalf of a Hungarian woman of Roma origin who was coercively sterilized in a public hospital. The complaint was filed jointly by the Budapest-based Legal Defense Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI) and the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), and charges the Hungarian government with violating A.S.’s rights to appropriate health care, family planning information, and free and informed decision-making over the number and spacing of her children as guaranteed under CEDAW. In November 2005, the Center submitted supplementary information to the CEDAW Committee in support of A.S. v. Hungary. The Center’s submission provided information from UN treaty monitoring bodies and international health and medical organizations underscoring women’s rights to receive accurate information on sterilization and other family planning services, and to informed consent to health care. In September 2006, CEDAW ruled in favor of A.S.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against women held that State party's obligations extend to prevention of, and protection from, violence against women and remain unfulfilled in the instant case and constitute a violation of the author's human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly her right to security of person; Violation of articles 5(a) and 16, traditional attitudes contribute to violence against women; facts of the communication reveal aspects of the relationships between the sexes and attitudes towards women; impossibility to ask for a restraining or protection order or to flee to a shelter.