Alexandria, VA (December 19, 2011) – The Constitutional Court of Hungary today struck down a
repressive religion law that would have deregistered over 300 religious organizations and established an onerous and arbitrary re-registration system.
“THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy congratulates the Constitutional Court of Hungary for upholding rule of law and protecting minority rights,” stated Joseph K. Grieboski, Founder and Chairman of the Board of THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy. “Having been the leading voice of opposition to this law since its introduction, THE INSTITUTE celebrates the Court’s standing against discrimination of religious groups.”
The bill would have deregistered all but 14 of the 362 registered religious organizations in Hungary and established a minimum membership requirement of 1,000 persons and a twenty-year existence requirement to register. Furthermore, the law would have required a 2/3 vote by Parliament for a religious organization to re-register in Hungary.
In THE INSTITUTE’S opinion, the religion law would have created the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region while codifying systematic discrimination of religious minorities. The religion law was completely inconsistent with fundamental human rights as it contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
The Fidesz Party has already stated to the media that it intends to reintroduce the law before December 30 for passage.
“We call upon the Government of Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orban to uphold the decision of the Court, maintain rule of law, recognize the inherent flaws in the religion law, and not introduce another version of the law that does not resolve the egregious violations of human rights that exist in the text as prepared,” concluded Mr. Grieboski.
* * *
Representatives of ISKCON Hungary have informed ISKCON News that on Wednesday, December 21st, the Hungarian Government will implement a new religious law, that will be discussed and voted on by the end of the year. According to one of the governmental party leaders, since the Constitutional Court`s decision was based on formalities rather then content, they are not planning to make major changes to the content of the previous law, which will stand as before.