THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy today released an official analysis on legislation passed on July 14, 2011 by the Hungarian Parliament. This recently passed law contains provisions that create the most oppressive religion law and the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region.
The legislation, when introduced, proposed a three-tiered system of registration for religious groups in Hungary. THE INSTITUTE published a detailed legal analysis immediately after the law was introduced noting that the content of the bill is not in keeping with international or European standards for human rights and religious freedom. Hungarian and international NGOs, scholars, religious leaders, and human rights advocates expressed agreement with THE INSTITUTE’s analysis and joined together to criticize the glaring human rights defects in the legislation.
Shockingly, rather than working to correct and remedy the shortcomings in the legislation, Parliament ignored the avalanche of international criticism that the legislation contravened human rights standards. Worse, about two hours before the final vote, without any prior notice, the Fidesz [ruling political party] delegation completely changed key provisions in the bill.
The most surprising and objectionable amendment to the bill introduced without adequate debate or reflection was the decision to remove a provision providing for judicial proceedings for “re-registration” of religious groups and to substitute a new provision stating that “the competent authority to recognize a religious organization is … the Parliament, with a two-thirds vote, rather than the courts or a ministry.”
This provision flouts clearly delineated human rights standards in religious registration cases developed by the European Court of Human Rights in a series of decisions over the last two decades. These standards mandate government neutrality, non-discrimination, religious pluralism and non-evaluation of religious belief.
In the INSTITUTE’S opinion, the Religion Law creates the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region while codifying systematic discrimination of religious minorities. The Religion Law is completely inconsistent with fundamental human rights as it contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Click here to see the full analysis.
source: THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy