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Open letter on the oppression of freedom of religion in Hungary

Several members of Hungary's democratic opposition in the 1970s and 80s voiced concern over the current state of freedom and rights in the country in a letter addressed to human rights commissioners of the European Union and the Council of Europe, on Monday.

Signatories to the letter requested EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and CoE Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg "to take resolute action in defense of freedom of religion and other fundamental liberties that are presently in great danger in Hungary."

The letter referred to Hungary's new church law and said that it had deprived over 100 religious communities of their church status, many of which are playing a key role in providing services to the homeless, the elderly, the Roma and other disadvantaged groups representing tens of thousands of people.

"Never before has a Member State of the EU so blatantly dared to go against the principles of freedom of beliefs, equality before the law, and separation of church from state. These are all established fundamental rights in our common Europe," the letter added.

Signatories to the letter include Gábor Demszky, Miklós Haraszti, Gábor Iványi, János Kenedi, György Konrád, Ferenc Kőszeg, Bálint Magyar, Imre Mécs, and László Rajk.