US Senators introduce resolution condemning Hungary’s Orbán government

Eighty-five year-old US Senator, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) is one of the most powerful politicians in the US. She recently introduced a strongly worded Resolution in the US Senate condemning Viktor Orbán’s regime. The Resolution is supported by two other Senate heavyweights, Mr. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn).

The title of the Resolutions is: Condemning efforts to undermine democracy in Hungary and urging President Trump to defend the universal human rights and democratic norms under attack by the Orbán government.

Obama’s Ambassador to Budapest Ms. Eleni Kounalakis, Senator Ms. Dianne Feinstein (middle) and Orbán’s ex-Ambassador to Washington, Ms. Réka Szemerkényi – all smiles.

RESOLUTION

Condemning efforts to undermine democracy in Hungary and urging President Trump to defend the universal human rights and democratic norms under attack by the Orbán government.

Whereas the United States and Hungary have a shared history dating to the times of Lajos Kossuth, whose bust graces the halls of the United States Congress;

Whereas Hungarians have come to the United States since its founding as immigrants and refugees, enriching our national fabric;

Whereas the United States first established diplomatic relations with Hungary in 1921;

Whereas the United States supported Hungary’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999, improving Hungary’s national security and building upon our common alliance;

Whereas NATO member states have collectively identified corruption and poor governance, including within member states, as ‘‘security challenges which undermine democracy, the rule of law and economic development’’;

Whereas Viktor Orbán has led the Fidesz party since 2003 and has continuously served as Hungary’s Prime Minister since 2010;

Whereas, since 2010, the Fidesz government has retained a super majority in Parliament despite not winning a majority of votes, and Prime Minister Orbán has systematically undermined the Hungarian Constitution, independent media and judiciary;

Whereas Hungary’s 2011 law on religion discriminates against some minority faiths by stripping legal recognition from more than 300 previously recognized faiths, violating their rights to freedom of association and freedom of religion, and has spurred a legal challenge from a range of religious faiths in Hungary, including the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship and Mennonite, reform Jewish, and Buddhist congregations;

Whereas, following the 2014 Parliamentary elections in Hungary, the OSCE noted that Fidesz enjoyed an undue advantage because of restrictive campaign regulations, biased media coverage, and campaign activities that blurred the separation between political party and the state;

Whereas Prime Minister Orbán used his parliamentary super majority to redraw Hungary’s electoral map and reduce the number of seats in Hungary’s Parliament, providing an advantage which has allowed the Prime Minister to more easily remain in power;

Whereas the Government of Hungary created the National Media and Communications Agency and empowered it to impose fines against independent media outlets for coverage the government finds unbalanced or offensive;

Whereas, in November 2018, more than 400 media publications, websites, television channels and radio stations in Hungary, already concentrated in the hands of a few owners, were donated, without compensation, by their owners to a central holding company which, according to a subsequently passed law, is exempt from competition oversight;

Whereas, according to the Department of State’s 2017 report on human rights, Hungary has passed a series of laws modifying the judicial system by restricting the Constitutional Court, altering the rules for electing Constitution Court justices, and vested the president of the National Office for the Judiciary, a position appointed by the parliament, with significant decision-making power;

Whereas, according to a Human Rights Watch analysis of Hungary’s judicial reforms since 2011, changes to the judiciary have undermined an important check on the government by curbing the judiciary’s independence, forcing nearly 300 judges into early retirement, and imposing limitations on the Constitutional Court’s ability to review laws and complaints;

Whereas the Government of Hungary has enacted legislation stigmatizing non-governmental organizations that receive financial support from abroad, drawing a legal challenge from the European Court of Justice;

Whereas, in 2017, the Government of Hungary adopted a law on nongovernmental organizations that, according to the Department of State, ‘‘unfairly burdens a targeted group of Hungarian civil society organizations, many of which focus on fighting corruption and protecting human rights and civil liberties’’;

Whereas, in February 2018, more than 250 nongovernmental organizations signed a letter in opposition to Hungary’s ‘‘escalating effort to crackdown on the legitimate work of civil society groups in Hungary seeking to promote and defend human rights, provide legal and social services to people in need in the country, and publicly express dissenting opinions in the press and online’’;

Whereas, in 2018, the Government of Hungary adopted amendments to a law on ‘‘aiding illegal migration,’’ which criminalizes the provision of assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers, including public advocacy and humanitarian assistance, and makes the distribution of know- your-rights leaflets punishable by up to one year in prison;

Whereas, in 2018, the Government of Hungary introduced a 25 percent tax on organizations that engage in disfavored speech regarding immigration, thereby establishing a content-based punishment to restrict free speech;

Whereas, in 2017, the Government of Hungary enacted a law requiring the mandatory detention of all asylum-seekers in ‘‘transit camps’’ while their asylum applications are reviewed and permitting the immediate deportation of certain asylum-seekers to Serbia;

Whereas, in response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that ‘‘this new law violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered’’;

and Whereas the erosion of democratic institutions and norms in Hungary has been found to be in clear violation of the European Union’s values, resulting in the initiation of sanctions proceedings against the Orbán government:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate rejects the Government of Hungary’s efforts to undermine the independence of the judiciary, restrict civil society groups, infringe on the freedom of the press, and violate the rights of asylum-seekers in Hungary; and urges the President to vigorously defend the universal freedoms and democratic norms under attack by the Orbán government in Hungary.

13 Comments

  1. WHEREAS this Resolution will only elicit the usual arrogant cock-on-the-trash-dump-bluster from Orban and his trolls (“Hungary-haters…,” “immigrant-lovers…” “lib-dem politics…” “US interference…” and “what about…[usual Finkelstein/Birnbaum/Dreamteam demagogic analogies and scapegoating]?”

    And WHEREAS this Resolution will be rejected by the Orbump Senate,

    It was a good idea anyway.

  2. Feinstein, leftist senator’s remarks should not concern Hungary. All leftists condemnation start from keeping illegal migrants out of the country. People keep saying corruption but has never been proven. It would be better if Feinstein concentrated on problems in the US and try to fix its illegal alien problems.

  3. Andras B. Gollner says:

    Whereas the current President and his senior 2016 campaign team (Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, J.D. Gordon, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Sebastian Gorka, and their foot-soldiers like Carter Page) worked hand in glove with the pro-Russian Hungarian autocracy to catapult the Donald to the White House (please turn to my Budapest Bridge on the pages of this portal and to Stevan Harnad’s panning of that essay), and

    Whereas, the Democratic Senator, Madame Feinstein, who moved the motion criticising Viktor Orbán, is happily standing next to the Hungarian Autocrat’s US Ambassador – Réka Szemerkényi, the woman who coordinated the Orbán government’s collusion with the Trump campaign, I move that

    all those who possess a brain bigger than a walnut, proclaim that the geriatric leadership of the Democratic Party in the US is a toothless tiger that should retire and give a chance to a younger generation to take on the fight against the affinity fraudsters on Capitol Hill. The crazy fake-blond fox got into the chicken-coop under the careless watch of Nancy, Diane and Chuck. They should move aside and give others a chance. They should listen to Jim Morrison. The time to hesitate is through, No time to wallow in the mire.

  4. Sandor Kerekes says:

    The benefit of this Resolution is that its publication will awaken the European Parliament to the fact that they are just dickering, while in the US, with much less direct interest in the matter, direct action is taken. The foce of the resolution is a moral one most of all: it is a call to action.

  5. „… urging President Trump to defend the universal human rights and democratic norms under attack by the Orbán government. …“ … this sounds funny, Orbamp und Truban … ok „… The fo[r]ce of the resolution is a moral one …“

    But morality is something that can hardly be found in Hungary … you can´t eat it. That’s a thing with morality … Guantanamo? Okay, you have to start somewhere.

  6. “urging President Trump to defend the universal human rights and democratic norms …”

    hahahahaha

  7. Andras B. Gollner says:

    Who said you can’t eat morality? There is even a cherry version of it in the grocery stores called morello. Just ask the bendy goose, he’s always tossing their pits around in this underpass. The other day he even landed one in Prof Harnad’s vegimite mix, holding up, thereby, the deliberations of the corresponding members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for an entire day. I’m not kidding. I’m just curious Jello. (He’ll probably say I’m Jello with envy 🙂 )

  8. Andras B. Gollner says:

    Not quite, Don Kochote, not quite. The moral of the story is – go to the grocery and buy some sorcery.

  9. Dianne F. is a youthful 75 years old!

    • Karl Busch
      on January 7, 2019 at 1:20 am
      Kichote,
      Your writing is not only dumb but also incomprehensible or you had too much palinka.

      My answer: Don Kichote
      on January 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm
      says who, for what?

      But didn´t get answer back …

  10. Amazing she IS 85 years old!!!!!

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