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Hungary: 1) Hungarian government position on religious freedom, particularly with regard to the Roman Catholic Church; 2) Treatment of non-members of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (Communist Party) in the workforce; 3) Treatment of Hungarian citizens who overstay exit visas

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1989
Citation / Document Symbol HUN1065
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary: 1) Hungarian government position on religious freedom, particularly with regard to the Roman Catholic Church; 2) Treatment of non-members of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (Communist Party) in the workforce; 3) Treatment of Hungarian citizens who overstay exit visas, 1 May 1989, HUN1065, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad2f5b.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

1) The Hungarian state and Party do not interfere in the practice of the Roman Catholic religion and are on good terms with the Church. [U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989), p. 1089-1090.] The Church was recognized in 1964 and the last major impediment to cooperation between it and the State was removed in 1974 when the exiled primate of the Church, Mindszenty, was replaced. [George E. Delury, ed., World Encyclopedia of Political Systems and Parties, second edition, (New York: Facts on File Publications, 1987), p. 466.] The authorities do take a less favourable view of the "basic communities" which are loosely affiliated, grass-roots religious organizations which operate outside the official Catholic structures and, in fact, these communities have become an issue of concern to the Catholic hierarchy itself. [Ibid.; and Op. cit., Department of State, p. 1090.] Amnesty International, as well as the Department of State both report that Roman Catholics have been jailed for refusing to serve in the military on religious grounds. [Ibid.;and Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1988, (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1988), pp. 204-205. ]

2) Hungary has a system of "Nomenklatura" which is similar to that found in the Soviet Union and other East European socialist states. In essence, it reserves certain positions for candidates vetted by the Communist Party, usually meaning a member of the Party. However, in 1986 a review of cadre policy was undertaken by the Central Committee of the Party. The resulting policy reiterated the criteria of political and moral orthodoxy, professional distinction, and leadership qualities but added that while commitment to support Party policy was necessary, non-Party members were welcome to most positions on the Nomenklatura list. [Richard F. Staar, ed., Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1987, (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1987), p. 303.] As is the case in the other socialist regimes of Eastern Europe, the percentage of the population which hold Party membership is rather small. While members do enjoy certain privileges such as greater access to the Nomenklatura positions and other perks, the majority of positions in society are open to non-party members.

3) Hungary has the most liberal travel regulations of any member of the East Bloc, including access to a worldwide passport on demand, with certain exceptions. [Op. cit., Department of State, p. 1091.] The section of the wire border fence which once separated Hungary from Austria is now being dismantled. [Ian Traynor, "Iron Curtain turned into scrap", Manchester Guardian, no date given, no page given.] While those persons who have left Hungary illegally or who have defected may be tried in absentia and sentenced to confiscation of their property and a suspended sentence of up to three years, these penalties have not been applied for some time. [Ibid.] Minor infractions of travel regulations can result in the denial of permission to travel abroad for five years, according to the U.S. Department of State. [Ibid.]

ATTACHMENTS

Amnesty International. Amnesty International Report 1988. London: Amnesty International Publications, 1988, 204-205.

Delury, George E. World Encyclopedia of Political Systems and Parties. New York: Facts on File, 1987, 466.

Staar, Richard F. Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1988. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1988, 282-283.

. Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1987. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1987, 303.

U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989, 1083-1095.

Traynor, Ian. "Iron Curtain turned into scrap", Manchester Guardian Weekly, no date given, no page given.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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