Rights groups slam Hungarian measure

Hungary’s new center-right government, which swept into power last year with a two-thirds majority, signed into law April 25 a new constitution containing a range of controversial provisions, including a provision restricting voting rights for people with certain intellectual disabilities.

The constitution states that a judge can take away the right to vote for people with “limited mental ability.”

The wording contrasts with the language of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities, signed by Hungary in 2007, which states that people with mental disabilities “can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others….including the right…to vote and be elected,” according to a letter from Human Rights Watch in opposition to the new constitution.

Previous Hungarian law already restricted individuals with full guardianships from voting, according to the letter. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against a Hungarian law stripping voting rights for individuals under partial guardianship.

Hungary has received widespread condemnation around the European Union for the constituional change.