US Freedom Of Religion Report Gives Mixed Assessment Of Hungary

  • 15 Oct 2015 4:30 AM
US Freedom Of Religion Report Gives Mixed Assessment Of Hungary
The US Department of State’s latest report on religious freedom issued on Wednesday established that Hungary’s constitution guaranteed the freedom of religion. The report, however, made critical remarks on the deregistration of religious groups and other issues. It said that the constitution provides for freedom of religion, separates church and state, and stipulates that religious communities are independent legal entities with which the state may cooperate on community goals.

However, the “deregistration of more than 350 religious organisations under the 2011 Law on Religion remained intact despite the efforts of some of the religious groups to contest the loss of their status in domestic courts and a final ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the law constituted a violation of freedom of association with respect to religious freedom.

” The report concluded that the access of minority religious groups to state funding and religious activities at public institutions remained “limited”. It noted that Jewish groups declined to participate in central government commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary following increased concerns over the government’s policies.

Among the measures criticised, it mentioned the decision to erect a monument dedicated to the victims of German occupation in 1944-45, the “limited coordination and consultation” with regard to the new “House of Fates” museum focusing on child victims of the Holocaust and the appointment of a director for the Veritas Institute who made controversial statements about the deportation of Jews in 1941.

The report said that “the government organised numerous events for the 70th anniversary, featuring speeches by the president and the prime minister criticising anti-Semitism and acknowledging the role played by the Hungarian state during the Holocaust.”

However, anti-Semitic incidents (physical and verbal attacks, cemetery desecration, Holocaust denial, revisionism) and public statements, especially by the radical nationalist Jobbik, continued to “raise concerns in the Jewish community”.

A survey conducted by the non-governmental Action and Protection Foundation found that approximately one-third of the adult population had prejudices against Jews.

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