HUNGARY: Two years after ruling by ECtHR Church Law Remains Unaltered
FOREF Europe intervenes for the 3rd time at the OSCE
Read Hungarian Version Here
BUDAPEST/WARSAW, 24.09.2016 (FOREF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe prepared following intervention for the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting and will present it on 27 September 2016 in Warsaw, Poland, at the working session 12. This session will cover issues of fundamental freedoms focusing on freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in the OSCE region. (See also our article from September 2014 here.)
FOREF’s Intervention on Hungary’s Religion Law 2014: New Religion Law at Variance with OSCE Standards and the European Convention on Human Rights
FOREF’s Intervention on Hungary’s Religion Law 2015: Amended Church Law Remains at Variance with OSCE Standards and the European Convention on Human Rights
Recommendations (September 2016):
The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF) calls upon the Government of Hungary
(1) to introduce legislation to Parliament that will amend Hungary’s law on the legal status of churches in a way that harmonizes with Helsinki standards, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the ruling of the ECtHR in Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház and others v. Hungary.
(2) To restore the legal status of churches stripped of legal personality in 2011 through a procedure ruled unconstitutional by Hungary’s Constitutional Court and found in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights.
Hungary ignores ruling of the European Court of Human Rights
In 2011 Hungary enacted a new law on the legal status of churches (Act CCVI of 2011). The law stripped approximately 200 religious communities of legal personality, and reduced the number of legally recognized churches in Hungary to 14. In February 2012, responding to international pressure, Parliament expanded the number of recognized churches to 31. In February 2013, Hungary’s Constitutional Court ruled the deregistration of recognized churches had been unconstitutional. Responding to the Court’s decision, Parliament amended the constitution in March 2013. In June and September 2013, Parliament amended Act CCVI to create a two-tiered classification consisting of “religious communities” and “incorporated churches.” In September 2013, Parliament also amended the constitution explicitly to grant Parliament the authority to select religious communities for “cooperation” with the state in the service of “public interest activities.” In April 2014 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház and others v. Hungary that Hungary had violated articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), a judgment which became final in September 2014.