The Canadian – Hungarian Democratic Charter (CHDC) is a non-partisan, global civil rights advocacy group, based in Montreal, Canada. It is not affiliated with any political party. Its purpose is to give encouragement and support to the defenders of universal democratic principles in Hungary and around the world.
Members of the CHDC believe that a nation-state can only be considered truly democratic, if the state not only guarantees, but champions the rights of citizens to fearlessly evaluate the ethical validity of competing conceptions about the public good. Respect for diversity of opinion, the rule of law, adequate checks and balances to prevent abuses of power, guarantees for the orderly removability of governments by citizens, an independent judiciary and a free press. These are the litmus tests of democratic sustainability. Today, more than 50 democracies around the world are on the verge of failing this test. Hungary, a member of the European Union and one of the new democracies to emerge after the collapse of the Soviet empire, is unfortunately the first EU member state to fail the litmus test of democracy. It is not the people of Hungary, but the government of Hungary, that failed to respect universally valid principles.
The failure of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government to respect universally valid democratic principles has an impact far beyond the borders of Hungary. The virus of autocracy, does not recognize international borders and is capable of setting off an international pandemic. Tolerance towards such rogue governments as Viktor Orbán’s will simply demonstrate to other would be autocrats, that the road is open towards autocracy in Europe and the rest of the world. We must not allow that to happen. The Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter will fight not only for the restoration of democratic rights in Hungary, a small country in the middle of Europe, but will fight vigorously to prevent the spread of the autocratic virus beyond the borders of Hungary, to the rest of Europe and North America.
The Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter was launched on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Hungarian people’s heroic uprising against communist tyranny. Our initiative is a salute and tribute to the example and sacrifices that Hungarians have made to promote and uphold universally valid democratic principles worldwide. We hope that our effort will help the citizens of Hungary to once again enjoy the fruits of their past sacrifices and we are committed to helping them regain the respect their country may have lost as a consequence of the self-serving, predatory actions of their leaders. We intend, with this action, to express our solidarity with the friends of democracy wherever they may be.