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Abstract

The statement was submitted by FOREF (Forum for Religious Freedom Europe) at the 2015 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting held this past September in Warsaw, Poland. The statement calls attention to continuing concerns with the state of religious freedom in Hungary. As readers of OPREE will most likely recall, Hungary's anti-liberal government, led by Viktor Orbán, introduced a law on the "legal status of churches" in 2011 which, among other things, stripped numerous minority religious groups of legal status. In 2014 the European Court of Human Rights found that, in implementing this new law, Hungary had violated the right of religious freedom as protected in the European Convention on Human Rights. Those who observe Hungarian affairs have been waiting since that decision for the government's response. Finally, in September 2015, the Ministry of Justice released a new draft of the law on church status. The statement below from FOREF is one of the first expert analyses of the draft bill to be made public. According to FOREF, the new bill would largely repackage the old law, preserving its most problematic provisions. Should the bill become law, one can expect further legal challenges before the European court in Strasbourg.

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