Hungarian Government Tries to Silence Canadian Civil Rights Group

Montreal. 2011. December 12: The Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter (CHDC) – a Montreal based international civil-rights advocacy group – issued a worldwide press release, condemning the efforts of the Hungarian Government to stifle political competition and freedom of speech outside of its boundaries. It charges, that the Hungarian government’s Canadian representative, László Pordány is stirring up a hate campaign by local community organisations against the Montreal based civil-rights advocacy group. With the active participation of the Hungarian Embassy, a petition is being circulated amongst the local Hungarian community, that tars and feathers the founders of The Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter, based on a series of fabricated charges, reminiscent of the propaganda campaigns of the old communist regime. The founders of the Charter, four well known and respected Canadian academics are accused in the petition of harbouring anti-Christian, anti-Hungarian and pro-Communist sentiments and of working to destroy the Hungarian community from within. “The charges could not be further from the truth” says Dr András B. Göllner, Concordia Professor and one of the Founders, and National Spokesperson of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter. “We have spent our entire life fighting against Communism. We favour open, and fearless political discourse. What we are against is the steady erosion of democratic principles by the current Hungarian government. A month ago, 100,000 Hungarians voiced these same fears in the streets of Budapest. And what we are protesting against now, is the Hungarian government’s efforts to export its repressive practices into the Canadian emigré community via its diplomatic representatives” said Göllner.

The Orbán government was elected to office in May, 2010 with a large majority, promising to provide a million new jobs, and economic prosperity to Hungary’s long suffering populace. The preceding socialist-liberal coalition government, which was in power during the previous 8 years, had clearly lost the confidence of the people due to its own political shortcomings and inability to master Hungary’s increasingly difficult economic challenges. Instead of implementing badly needed reforms, the Orbán government opted for a bizarre mix of predatory economic policies, which penalise the less fortunate and those that can offer little resistance to governmental excess. Instead of strengthening the country’s democratic foundations and providing a broader base for reasonable debate and discourse, the government has ruthlessly silenced dissent against its misguided policies. As a consequence of these predatory actions, Hungary’s economic and political stability has been seriously compromised. According to the latest opinion polls, 78% of Hungarians are deeply opposed and dissatisfied with the policies of their elected representatives. The Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter’s spokespersons declare that: „The failure 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 of rogue governments, such as 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 this to happen”

It seems that the Hungarian government’s attack against the Canadian civil-rights group was the result of an earlier worldwide indictment, launched by the CHDC against the Orban-government . Compiled by a blue-ribbon team of respected academics, headed by Concordia University Political Scientist, András B. Göllner, the indictment accused the Hungarian government before the international court of public opinion of wilful civil and human rights abuses. Consisting of 10 separate sections, and backed up by a wealth of verifiable evidence, the document is the first comprehensive English-language account of the Orbán government’s assault on universally respected democratic principles. (See http://www.hungariancharter.com) The indictment points out, that Orbán is the first EU leader, to cross the line separating democratic governance from autocratic rule. It echoes the alarm raised by such internationally reputable anti-communist crusaders as Vaclav Havel, the first President of the democratic Czech republic, or Adam Michnik, one of the most respected leaders of the Polish Solidarnos movement, who, along with hundreds of well known Hungarian anti-communist activists, sent an impassioned appeal earlier this year to leaders of the European Union: „Just 20 years after communism collapsed, Hungary’s government, though elected democratically, is misusing its legislative majority to methodically dismantle democracy’s checks and balances, to remove constitutional constraints, and to subordinate to the will of the ruling party all branches of power, independent institutions and the media” (www.iprotest.hu). The situation since then has gotten much worse. The authors of the indictment emphasize, that their criticism is not directed against the people or the nation of Hungary and reject the crude attempts of Hungarian authorities to stigmatize all their opponents as anti-Hungarian. „Our indictment is not against the people of Hungary, but against the country’s unscrupulous and self-serving rulers, who are showing little regard for universal democratic principles and who, as a consequence, threaten not only Hungary’s but Europe’s peace and stability”

The Canadian – Hungarian Democratic Charter is a non-partisan, global, civil rights advocacy group, based in Montreal, Canada. It is not affiliated with any political party. It was launched on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Hungarian people’s heroic uprising against communist tyranny. According to its Founders, “The initiative is a salute and tribute to the example and sacrifices that Hungarians have made to promote and uphold universally valid democratic principles. We hope, our efforts will help the citizens of Hungary to once again enjoy the fruits of their past and current sacrifices. We are committed to helping them to regain the respect their country may have suffered as a consequence of the self-serving, predatory actions of their current leaders. Our efforts are undertaken in solidarity with the friends of democracy wherever they may be”

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For further information contact:

Dr. András B. Göllner, Founder and International Spokesperson, Montreal, Que

Dr. Christopher Adam, Founder and Spokesperson, Ottawa, Ont.

Dr. Éva Balogh, Founder and Spokesperson, New Haven, Conn.

Dr. Imre Szeman, Founder and Spokesperson, Edmonton, Alberta.

at democratic@kanadaimagyar.com

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