Attendees of European Leadership Conference organized by Universal Peace Federation on December 8-10 in UK Parliament, condemned newly enacted Hungarian law on churches.
After the report on religious freedom situation in Hungary submitted by Jura Nanuk, Founder & President of Central-European Religious Freedom Institute and Deputy President of Media & PR Committee of Croatian Religious Liberty Association, attendees signed a joint statement which was forwarded to Hungarian Ambassador in UK, Hungarian Constitutional Court, President Pál Schmitt, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Minister Tibor Navracics, religious leaders and national news agency MTI.
Below is the text of Declaration in full:
DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
We, the attendees of the European Leaders Conference organized by the Universal Peace Federation, 8-10 December 2011, held in the Houses of Parliament London, wish to make our voices heard and our concerns expressed with regards to the Hungarian Act 100 of 2011 on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and on the Status of Churches, Religions and
Religious Communities that restricts religious freedom in that country.
This legislation, which we consider to be a violation of the Constitution of Hungary and of fundamental human rights, now subjects more than 200 religions to an arbitrary and biased registration procedure after stripping them of their religious rights.
Each of these groups is now forced to undergo an highly arbitrary procedure should they wish to register as a religion which not only places a series of unfair administrative blocks in the way but includes, as a final obstacle, the condition of being voted upon by the Hungarian Parliament and only by gaining a two thirds majority, would that group be accepted as a Church. If not accepted, they cannot use the word ‘Church’ in their name.
Never before, except in totalitarian states, has the status of religion been subject to such a vote by legislators. Such procedures could hardly be further away from international human rights standards and academically accepted determinations of what may constitute a religion.
This deregistration process will affect the activities of many religious organisations and is in breach of democratic standards separating Church and State. The withdrawal of religious status will affect the support by religious groups to different communities and activities, including the homeless, the elderly, the poor, prisoners and children. It will affect amongst other things educational support, the provision of shelter and assistance to those disadvantaged in society as these religious communities will no longer have the proper legal framework from which to operate.
We hereby call for this legislation to be repealed and urge any concerned individuals and bodies to take action in support of religious freedom.
Croatian Religious Liberty Association
Central-European Religious Freedom Institute
Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe
Human Rights Without Frontiers International
Yong Cheol Song
Family Federation for World Peace and Unification
prof. Rita Ilisson
Jugend für Menshenrechte Berlin
Rev. Dr. Isaac Nsereko
Ministry of Education and Sports,Uganda
Fédération pour la paix universelle,France
Dr. Nnamdi Ahunanya
Universal Peace Federation,Malta
Mr. A.F. Herzer
Universal Peace Federation,UK
Women’s Federation for World Peace
Lic Fabian Lopez
Maria Cristina N. Pessego