COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker
Keep Civic Space Healthy
This tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws. For information about our methodology, click here.
For more information and analysis by region, click here.
The COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker is a collaborative effort by the ICNL, ECNL, and our global network of partners, with generous research support from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin. This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to share additional resources.
Law Terminating the "State of Danger"
The law calls on the government to terminate the "state of danger" instituted under Decree 40/2020 of March 11, in accordance with Article 54(3) of Hungary's Fundamental Law, and withdrawal of the Law on Protection Against The Coronavirus. Article 54(3) of the Fundamental Law requires the termination of a "special legal order" if the conditions for it no longer exist. (See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 18 Jun 2020
Law on Transitional Rules and Health Preparedness related to the Cessation of the State of Danger
The law introduces measures related to the revocation of the "state of danger" in Hungary. However, the law expands the powers of the government during another exceptional state, by authorizing the government to issue wide-ranging decrees without parliamentary approval during a “state of medical crisis.” During such a state, the law authorizes the government to suspend existing laws and restrict fundamental rights such as freedom of movement and assembly. The government may declare a “state of medical crisis” unilaterally, based on the recommendation of a government-appointed medical officer; the “state of medical crisis” can last up to six months and may be renewed by government decree. According to critics, the law gives the government expansive leeway to rule with minimal judicial and parliamentary scrutiny for an indefinite period.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 17 Jun 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Emergency, Movement
Law on Protection Against the CoronavirusThe law extends the government's emergency powers, and suspends elections during that time. Under the law, the government may effectively rule by decree, for an indefinite period of time, without being bound by current laws. The law also punishes anyone who â€œdistortsâ€ or publishes â€œfalseâ€ information on the pandemic with five years in jail.
The law was withdrawn as of 18 June 2020, along with the termination of the "state of danger." (See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 30 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Emergency, Press Freedom, Elections, Expression
Government Decree No. 521/2020 (XI.25.)
The Decree extends the period of responding to access to information requests from 15 days to 45 days, in the case that timely completion of the request would jeopardize the completion of public tasks related to the State of Danger. The deadline can be extended a further 45 days.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 25 Nov 2020 In effect from 26 November 2020 until 8 February 2021
Issue(s): Access to Information
Government Decree No. 484/2020. (XI. 10.) on the Second Phase of Protective Measures to be Applied in the Event of a State of Danger
The Decree introduces a blanket ban on assemblies in public spaces, establishes a curfew between 8pm and 5am, and imposes heavy fines for violations up to 1,400 EUR (500,000 HUF) for participants of banned protests. The Decrees also allows the military to take part in patrols and monitor compliance with the emergency measures.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 10 Nov 2020 In effect through 11 December 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Movement, Militarization
Law No. CIX of 2020 on the Protection Against the Second Wave of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
The Law extends the government's emergency powers so that it may effectively rule by decree. The Law sets a 90-day time limit for the government’s exceptional powers. During the period of the state of danger, new interim elections and national and local referendum cannot be scheduled. Any previously scheduled elections or referendums are required to be cancelled.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 10 Nov 2020
Issue(s): Emergency, Elections
Termination of GDPR Rights and Extension of Deadlines for FOI Requests
The government restricted data protection rights as stipulated by the GDPR and the Act on Freedom of Information. The new rules allow the government to use the personal data of citizens without clear regulations about when they can use it, and for what purpose. The government also extended the deadline for public institutions to provide requested data through FOI regulations from 15 to 45 days. The deadline can be prolonged for an additional 45 days, meaning one could have to wait up to 90 days for a response.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 5 May 2020
Issue(s): Surveillance, Privacy, Access to Information
State of DangerThe government declares a national "state of danger" to counter the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic. The "state of danger" is a special state of emergency regulated by Hungary's constitution.
The declaration was withdrawn as of 18 June 2020. (See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 11 Mar 2020