Friday, 24 June 2011

HUNGARY: Scandalous New Law on Religion - Most Oppressive in OSCE Region

Draft Religion Law Would Constitute the  Most Oppressive Religion Law in the OSCE Region

Christian Newswire (21.06.2011) / HRWF (22.06.2011) - -Legislation recently proposed in Hungary contains provisions designed to create the most oppressive religion law and the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region. Over a hundred religious organizations will be retroactively stripped of their status as religious communities and "de-registered" as religious organizations if these provisions become law.

On 10 June 2011, four Christian Democrat (KDNP) Members of the Parliament submitted a proposed draft law regarding "The Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and on the Status of Churches, Religions and Religious Communities". Only four days after the Bill was introduced in Parliament, the Committee on Human Rights, Minority, Civil and Religious Affairs approved the proposed religious legislation and voted to send the draft law to the Parliamentary Assembly for discussion and passage.

"Passage of this legislation would represent a serious setback for religious freedom in Hungary," said Joseph K. Grieboski, Founder and Chairman of THE INSTITUTE. "In my opinion, the legislation contravenes international  human rights standards and Hungary's political commitments to the OSCE, European Union, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations as it clearly discriminates against minority religious groups."

The draft law's tier system of state recognition is completely inconsistent with fundamental human rights as it contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The draft law includes retroactive provisions that violate the Rule of Law and the right to religious freedom. These provisions would "de-register" targeted minority faiths that have been registered as religions in Hungary since the adoption of the 1990 Religion Law, while allowing favored religious organizations to maintain their registered religious status.

Religious organizations that have been "de-registered" may not use the name "Church" and will also lose their status as a religious organization if they are not "re-registered" through burdensome Court proceedings.

In addition, "re-registration" can only occur if a minority religious community meets onerous duration and population levels designed to suppress minority religious freedom in complete contravention of European Human Rights Court's and OSCE's standards.

The Bill also includes a narrow definition of "religious activities" that do not comport with the broad definition of religion mandated under international human rights norms that Hungary is obliged to follow.

In addition to the egregious human rights defects in the legislation, the questionable method and manner in which the draft law is being rushed through the Parliament merits sending the legislation back to the Committee on Human Rights, Minority, Civil and Religious Affairs for further study. This is especially appropriate, as passage of the draft law by the Committee did not follow standard Parliamentary procedures. The draft law is being rushed through the Committee with such great speed that it has not received thoughtful consideration, the opportunity for amendments, or debate on its merits.

THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy
urges the Hungary Parliament to refrain from enacting the draft legislation and by doing so ensure Hungary complies with international human rights and religious freedom standards.

The full report of THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy can be found under:

Sarah Channing Grieboski, Director of Communications, THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy, 703-888-1700,


  1. Thanks, I liked to read it!

  2. This would mean enormous regression and loss of social achievement, loss of religious freedom for the Hungarian people.

  3. I think this would need to get into public. Will translate it in cz and post.

  4. This is unbelievable. What’s going on in the heads of these politicians. All organizations who work for freedom of thought, religious freedom, human rights etc. should join hands against this setback, leading into the time of Middle Age.
    Also Entire Europe, the Union, has to be alarmed and must take action and if negotiations do not show results, actions must take place. This cannot be allowed!

    Ernst Hauseder

  5. Back into the Middle Ages.

    Bruno Klotz

  6. this means that the hungarians people will have no religious freedom.
    they even would like that all the schools will be handled by the traditional churches and of course parents don't have any choice. Example the school of my 3 children will be closed. this school is a knowned school and good one. Few days ago we found out that they will give this school to the neighbouring Reformation church school.
    We are sad by this new government now. sorry to say.

  7. Nothing good and positive and liberating can come from this legislation and it's a big setback for the Hungarian people to have this kind of legislature even in thought of being a possibility. Religious freedom is very important for the advancement and freedom of the Hungarian people. People have the indane right to believe in God as they wish to if it promotes love and peace and understanding. Without love there can be no peace and freedom. People should be able to believe in God, the Creator in whichever way that helps them to be a loving person as long as they don't promote hatred or destruction to other and have good will towards all humanity.

  8. Dear Peter,

    Thank you for spreading the word about this oppressive law. I live in Hungary and my religious freedom as well as the freedom of hundreds of thousands of people is violated by this law. I would urge the readers of your blog to write to the Hungarian Ambassador in their country to express their concern about religious freedom in Hungary.

    Best regards,

    Jura Nanuk