Respect for human rights is not just a legal issue, but also a cultural one, the Minister of Human Capacities stressed at the conference held in Budapest on Wednesday on the occasion of the upcoming Human Rights Day.

Zoltán Balog took the view that the protection of rights also conveys the culture of respect for human dignity. He said: laws are passed in vain, legal injuries are remedied in vain. If people do not respect one another’s freedom in everyday life, this does not promote the cause of human rights.

According to the Minister we need “not only court rulings”, but also culture and education for the enforcement of human rights.

DownloadPhoto: Gyula Bartos

Mr Balog warned of the danger of “false approaches”, and highlighted that there are situations when it turns out that something that is regarded as a human right does more harm than good to the person we would like to help. He mentioned the legalisation of prostitution in Germany and migration as examples which, in his view, may make the very individuals concerned more exposed. A freedom which leads to the loss of freedom is not a freedom any more, Mr Balog said. In his view, the legalisation of prostitution as “a guarantee of the right to employment” has in actual fact created an institutional framework for human trafficking.

He also highlighted: people smugglers profit from the promotion of migration with reference to human rights, and European politics is unable to prevent the vulnerability of asylum-seekers.

DownloadPhoto: Gyula Bartos

The Minister took the view, however, that human rights must be protected nonetheless even if they are abused in certain instances or are used for the false legitimisation of power aspirations. Respect for human dignity is a fundamental duty of human beings, and protecting it is one of the most important obligations of every state as is also laid down in the Hungarian Fundamental Law, he pointed out.

In reference to 6 December, Mr Balog observed that Bishop Saint Nicholas can also be viewed as a human rights warrior as he spoke up against humiliating treatment and human trafficking.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)