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The Institute on Religion and Public Policy in Washington DC: Executive Summary of Hungary Draft Religion Law

2011.06.26. Categorized: Uncategorized   

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

On 10 June 2011, four Christian Democrat (KDNP) Members of the Parliament submitted a proposed draft law (the “Draft Law”) regarding “The Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and on the Status of Churches, Religions and Religious Communities”. On 14 June 2011, 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. The Draft Law is now scheduled for a vote before the Parliament on 23 June 2011.

Passage of this legislation would represent a serious setback for religious freedom in Hungary. The legislation contravenes the standards of OSCE, European Union, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights and United Nations because it clearly discriminates against minority religious groups.

The Draft Law would create the most oppressive religion law and the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region. The most egregious provisions in the law include the following:

First, the Draft Law’s tiered 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 provisions that retroactively strip numerous targeted minority faiths of their religious entity status even though they have been registered as religious entities for many years. These retroactive provisions violate the Rule of Law and the right to religious freedom. The Draft Law 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 and enjoy all the rights and privileges that flow to religious organizations under the Bill.

Over a hundred religious organizations currently registered as such will be retroactively stripped of their status as religious communities and “de-registered” as religious organizations if these provisions become law.

Second, 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 requirements showing that it has been organized in Hungary for at least 20 years and has at least 1,000 members. These requirements represent a transparent attempt to suppress minority religious freedom in complete contravention of European Human Rights Court decisions and UN and OSCE’s standards.

Third, the Bill includes a narrow definition of “religious activities” based on Judeo-Christian concepts that does not comport with the broad definition of religion embraced by the UN, OSCE and European Human Rights Court that is mandated under international human rights norms that Hungary is obliged to follow.

Moreover, the government’s recognition of certain religions through “lists” annexed to the Bill due to: 1) their historical presence in Hungary; 2) their serving a substantial “public benefit” in the opinion of the government; or 3) their connection to a “worldwide religious movement” is arbitrary and inherently discriminatory. No criteria are provided regarding why a religion was included in categories 2 and 3. Many religious minorities that serve the public benefit or are connected to worldwide religions were arbitrarily kept off the lists.

This exclusionary approach is inconsistent with the Human Rights Court’s application of a fundamental human rights policy of the European Community to religious freedom issues – “the need to secure true religious pluralism, an inherent feature of the notion of a democratic society”. It would frustrate this policy of “true religious pluralism” and result in arbitrariness and unfair discrimination to interpret religion narrowly to exclude new and minority faiths.

The definitional provisions in the Draft Law do not comport with these human rights standards and would result in the denial of religious registration to numerous religious groups that should qualify under the broad definition mandated by human rights law.

Fourth, the controversial provisions in the law retroactively stripping religious organizations of their rights, “de-registering” Churches so that they no longer enjoy the rights and privileges of religious organizations, requiring religious organizations to meet onerous membership and duration requirements uniformly found to contravene fundamental human rights by the Human Rights Court, the OSCE and the UN, and narrowly defining the term “religious activities” to exclude minority faiths cannot withstand human rights or legal scrutiny. Such provisions, if enacted into law, will inevitably be overturned in the Courts after extended, needless and costly litigation for the State.

The Draft Law contravenes European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE and UN standards. It has been rushed through the Committee without time for an adequate review and debate on its provisions. Passage of this legislation will represent a serious setback for religious freedom in Hungary.

Source: http://religionandpolicy.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6932&Itemid=327

About The Institute on Religion and Public Policy:

Having received two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy is one of the world’s most effective and well-respected advocates for freedom of religion and belief.

An international, inter-religious non-profit organization, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring freedom of religion as the foundation for security, stability, and democracy. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute recognizes that religious freedom is more than just a church-state issue. As such, the Institute engages every segment of society to protect humankind’s most basic fundamental right: freedom of religion and belief. The Institute’s programs reflect this multi-faceted approach, in national security, corporate social responsibility, interfaith dialogue and media engagement.

Religious discrimination and persecution are not new issues. They have been around as long as humanity. But combating them does require new ideas and innovative solutions. The Institute has developed creative and exciting methods of advancing fundamental rights, energizing new advocates and rolling back religious discrimination, persecution and tyranny.

Many religious freedom advocacy groups do an important service by highlighting individual cases of persecution, discrimination, imprisonment and abuse. The Institute, however, has a more overarching goal: To create and strengthen legal, business, academic, media and other systems within countries—and internationally—to protect religious freedom so such abuses do not occur.

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy does not accept funding of any type from religions, religious institutions, or government agencies of any kind, unless government funds are specifically earmarked solely for the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom.

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Our Inspiration 1st Part

Our Inspiration (1st Part)
Jai Bhim is a cheerful greeting. Ten million Indians greet each other in this manner. They're the Dalits who are a proud community. They inherited an extremely difficult life. Their parents and grandparents and untold generations before them were outcasts in society. Even today they still encounter prejudice and experience helplessness.
For more than a millenium their ancestors lived as outcasts. People had a horror of touching them. Others even avoided being in their proximity as their shadow was considered polluting. If they went to school they were seated separately, If they were able to obtain work they did the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs.

Our Inspiration 2nd Part

Our Inspiration (2nd Part)
With their greeting of Jai Bhim they remind each other of their own successful revolution in 1956 for their human rights. Their cause is sacred. It inspires us here in Hungary, as we also face segregation and prejudice today. We would like to know discrimination is a thing of the past.
The dalit's story is like a fairy tale.

Our Inspiration 3rd Part

Our Inspiration (3rd Part)
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a seventeen year old untouchable boy in a big family, His name was Bhim. He was the youngest child among 14 siblings. He surpassed all of them because of his brilliant mind. A wealthy maharaj acknowledged his poverty and bestowed a scholarship on him. Bhim was aware that Indian schools were being discriminatory and practiced segregation. Therefore, he tried his fortune in London and New York where he achieved university degrees. He received the title Dr. Ambedkar when he returned home to serve his people as a barrister.

Our Inspiration 4th Part

Our Inspiration (4th Part)
Nevertheless, he was considered as an untouchable in accordance with the holy books of the Hindu religion. Therefore, he convened with his friends and publicly burned Manu's Laws, the Hindu holy script which bids the Hindu to hold the Untouchable in disdain. He became a human right fighter and his authority was constantly growing throughout the whole country. When India gained independence in 1947 he was nominated as law minister. He was entrusted with drafting the Constitution for the country. He wrote in it that discrimination is forbidden.

Our Inspiration 5th Part

Our Inspiration (5th Part)
In his old age the Dalit people addressed him with veneration as Dr. Babasaheb. He and his laws, however respected they were, he still stared frustratedly at the discrimination existing all over the country. He decided then to show the people a spiritual alternative. As our judgment is determined by our faith, he took an oath: "I was born a Hindu Untouchable. It was beyond my power to prevent that but I declare that it is within my power to refuse to live under ignoble and humiliating conditions. I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu". He abjured hindu religion that had brought so much suffering and humiliation to the Untouchable people (today's Dalits).

Our Inspiration 6th Part

Our Inspiration (6th Part)
He studied thoroughly all the faiths of the world. He was seeking a religion which fitted together with reason, with modern science, and which declared liberty, fraternity and equality amongst people. He decided to follow the path of the Indian prince who lived 2500 years ago: he would be a follower of the Buddha. This was a decision of profound importance for the Dalits because the Buddha is venerated thoughout the world, and India is entitled to take pride in her great son. Dr. Ambedkar showed his astuteness: all of us can choose the way to be respected, we can change our fate for the better. Hundreds of thousands followed Ambedkar to the magnificent ceremony in Nagpur in October 1956. This was the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Babasaheb died six weeks later.

Our Inspiration 7th Part

Our Inspiration (7th Part)
Those who at that time embraced a new world view with him, they are today grandfathers and grandmothers. Their grandchildren are as numerous as the whole population of Hungary. They follow Ambedkar's example: they face even the biggest difficulties in all things - to study and to exercise their human rights.

All of the Parts in One

Our Inspiration

  • Chandrakirti: I like ur views on Bhim Jayanti... And i jst can say "Jai Bhim".....
  • Sunil Sagar: Jai Bhim Janos it's great seeing Dr. Ambedkar's follower in Hungary. The Emancipator, The god of Small. What Millions of god and goddess of Hindu's c
  • Ashwin Jangam: Struggle for liberation of Mulnivasis When freedom struggle of our country was going on, we were dual slaves. The Arya Brahmin
  • Ashwin Jangam: Jaibhim Abhinav Thank you Abhinav for putting up a superb photos of our ancestors to know our peop

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