Update on situation with Hungarian law on religions

20 12 2011

During last ten days, the situation with the law was developing with dramatic speed. Everything I wanted to post on my blog regarding it, would be outdated in matter of hours. But here is a short summary of what was happening.

Since July, several individuals, religious communities and institutions, including Central-European Religious Freedom Institute, filed their complaints to Hungarian Constitutional Court. Constitutional Court didn’t act as upon the religious law as they were expecting a new law which would regulate their basis of operation. When it became obvious that this law will seriously affect their work they rushed to give their opinion on several laws including the law on churches/religions.

Government was totally unprepared for such a bold move on the side of Constitutional Court. The solution which Government worked out was to simply withdraw the law, temporarily, hoping to prevent Constitutional Court’s negative verdict/opinion.

Lazar Janos, one of the leaders of the ruling FIDESZ party, said openly that they plan to get exactly the same law back, through the Parliament, after Christmas, knowing very well that the law is not valid until it is published in official state legal newspapers. This law would be finally published probably on 30 December which would be too late for Constitutional Court to take it up. Their reasoning was Const Court can’t do anything if the law is not there, and is withdrawn. But Constitutional Court surprised everybody and just went ahead. In their verdict they canceled the law due to some procedural mistake – in July, after some key elements were changed in the law, the law was not sent to MP’s for another reading, but was voted upon.

Good news is that Const Court did something, bad news is that they didn’t comment on the fact that this law severely violates religious freedom in Hungary.

This is basically what is happening. If you have any comments or news or you disagree with something I said, you are welcome to fill up the comment form below.


Sincerely yours,

Jura Nanuk,
Central-European Religious Freedom Institute

Photo by Amerikai Nepszava



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