Hungarian Hare Krishna community setting a good example

15 12 2011

The Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness is the main representative of the Hindu world religion in Hungary. The Krishna devotees are known for their diligent religious practices, dedicated distribution of eternal spiritual wisdom and pure, exemplary lifestyles. Their efforts and achievements in assisting underprivileged people, as well as in fighting environmental problems and promoting sustainability, are also well known and valued worldwide.

Recent Hungarian law on churches threatened their religious status and put a question mark over the future of their agricultural land in Hungary, known as Krishna-valley. Hungarian law on arable land says only the State, churches and individuals have right to own arable land. If Krishna community would lose its religious status due to new draconian law on churches, their 270-hectare farm – a home to 300 monks and sacred cows – might become State property overnight.

On the 13th of December, they held a peaceful demonstration with their homeless-to-be cows, monks and families in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Also, to make their case stronger, they issued a petition, which was signed by tens of thousand people from all over the world in a matter of days.

Indian government officials, businessmen, as well as international Hindu organizations in Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed their concern about the issue at the Hungarian Embassies in their respective countries, as well as by sending letters directly to Prime Minister Viktor Orban:

“We are deeply disappointed that Hungary, whose ardent desire for true democracy the whole world could witness and admire over twenty years ago, now is making the mistake of not protecting its citizens` equality  — and discriminates against internationally respected religious organizations.” – Hindu Forum of Europe

“The global efforts of International Society for Krishna Consciousness we represented as faith based best practices, at a recent Hindu American Seva (service) conference at the White House. Their efforts and achievements in fighting environmental problems and promoting sustainability are also well-known and valued worldwide. Their Krishna-Valley farm has brought hundreds of thousands of tourists and more international recognition for Hungary.“ - Hindu American Seva Charities

“On behalf of Hindu Forum of Britain we are requesting that you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the Parliament of Hungary rectify this situation as soon as possible. We are especially urging the Hungarian Parliament to re-establish the church status of all Hindu Groups in Hungary. Including the Society for Krishna Consciousness, which is a part of the 5000 year old Hindu Faith and a representative of the Gaudia Vaishnava Tradition.” - Hindu Forum of Britain

“On behalf of the Hindu community, we are respectfully requesting that this situation is rectified as soon as possible by repealing the legislation or amending its discriminatory provisions. We are fully convinced that the Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness is worthy of all your support, as it is a tremendous asset not only to the Hungarian people, but also to the international community.” - Hindu American Foundation


With their non-confrontational, peace loving ways, Hungarian Krishna community is setting a good example in protecting religious freedom in Hungary.


Jura Nanuk,
Central-European Religious Freedom Institute 

Photo by Vajda József/Nepszava

President of International Association for Religious Freedom wrote to Hungarian Ambassadors in Washington, Tokyo, London

26 08 2011

The International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) is a UK-based NGO working for freedom of religion & belief at a global level. IARF has General Consultative Status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations. On Monday, August 22, President of IARF, Rev.  Mitsuo Miyake, sent letters to Hungarian Ambassadors in Washington, Tokyo, London, expressing his concern for the state of religious freedom in Hungary.

In his letter, the IARF President said:

During Hungary’s democratic transition twenty years ago, the separation of religious and political institutions was achieved. But on 12 July this year, Hungary’s Parliament passed a law on churches that deprived more than 100 religious denominations of their church status (notably, all Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu congregations, as well as Methodist, Pentecostal, Adventist and reform Jewish churches; the Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Many religious communities have become pariahs overnight, with all their social, healthcare and educational services stripped of their lawful subsidies. This withdrawal of subsidy will impact certain groups to whom they have been providing services: the homeless, the elderly, the poor, Roma, inmates, children and young people in middle and higher education.

In breach of democratic standards separating church from state, the law declared that in future a vote by Parliamentary parties will authorize religious groups’ existence.

All groups, existing and new, will have to request recognition from a government minister, who will “evaluate” their religious creeds.

This is a violation of the principle of freedom and equality of religions, and the passage of such a law marks Hungary as the first EU member state to break with this principle.

During the Soviet domination of the1970s, worship sites were shut or demolished without recourse. But today Europe is united in the principles of freedom of belief, equality before the law, and separation of church from state (Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

The IARF therefore joins the international calls urging Hungary’s political leadership to reconsider this law, in order to bring the religious life of the nation into conformity with European norms.



source: International Association for Religious Freedom

Hungarian Parliament Resurrects Soviet Past with Midnight Adoption of Europe’s Most Restrictive Religion Law

29 07 2011

While Communism officially ended in Hungary over 20 years ago, it appears the dictatorial mindset has not yet fully abated


On July 12, after midnight, the Hungarian parliament procured for the country the title of Worst Religion Law in Europe when it adopted its new “Law on the Right toFreedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Communities”.

“I am both saddened and disappointed by the adoption of such a draconian law,” commented THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy’s Founder and Chairman, Joseph K. Grieboski. “I have known and worked closely with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, most recently on the new constitution, and expected much more from him. The law is a danger to all Hungarian society and a terrible indication of the state of democracy in the country.”

As the Pastor of an evangelical Church noted on passage of the bill: “This is the greatest discrimination against evangelical Christians since the fall of Communism. This is just the first step against real, active, Bible-believing Christian groups. During Communism we were oppressed and persecuted, but we didn’t expect the same from a so-called ‘Christian’ government.”

Over one hundred currently registered religious organizations will be retroactively stripped of their status as religious communities and “de-registered” as religious organizations, losing key rights and privileges provided to registered Churches. Only fourteen religious organizations will retain their registration status, while all others in the country will be forced to reregister.

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

The amendments added to the legislation further restrict the rights of religious communities in Hungary by imposing illegal national security restrictions. Such amendments violate fundamental international human rights law and international human rights instruments that Hungary has signed and ratified. Under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), national security does not form a proper basis to impose restrictions on religious freedom. National Security is consistently excluded from the list of permissible grounds for restricting freedom of religion in all major international interests.

According to the most surprising amendment, the competent authority to recognize a religious organization is now the parliament, with a two-third vote, rather than the courts or a ministry. A religious organization seeking recognition must now request the registration from the Minister who will initiate the request to the parliament. After the two-thirds vote by parliament, the religious organization is added to the list of recognized religions and an order is sent to the Court to register the organization within 30 days.

In January 2011, twenty-four members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States (Monitoring Committee) signed a Motion for a Resolution entitled “Serious Setbacks in the Fields of the Rule of Law and Human Rights in Hungary.” The Resolution expressed the Parliamentary Assembly members “serious concern with respect to recent developments related to the rule of law, human rights and the functioning of democratic institutions in Hungary.” Last week, two Co-Rapporteurs from the Council of Europe traveled to Hungary to investigate these serious setbacks in human rights in Hungary and to report to the Monitoring Committee as to whether a formal human rights monitoring procedure should be initiated.

The passage of this draconian Religion Law is the latest and most disturbing example of this serious setback of human rights and the rule of law in Hungary. The legislation contravenes OSCE, European Union, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights and United Nations standards because it clearly discriminates against minority religious groups.

Today, THE INSTITUTE once again urges the Monitoring Committee to take action to initiate a human rights monitoring procedure to ensure compliance by Hungary with the Human Rights Convention and other Council international instruments that it has signed and ratified.

“In the midst of celebrating the break from its Soviet past by crafting a new constitution, erecting a statute of Ronald Reagan, and opening the Tom Lantos Human Rights Institute, the Government of Hungary has thrust the nation back into a system of repressive and restrictive legislation with this new law,” Mr. Grieboski commented. “My only hope is that similar to the case of the media law in January, the Government will realize the terrible mistake it has made and return the law to Parliament for revision, and ideally put it in line with international and European human rights standards.”

source: THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Powered by