Open letter: the EU must not sit idly by while a Member State’s democracy is in jeopardy

Open letter: the EU must not sit idly by while a Member State’s democracy is in jeopardy

Posted on the 15/04/20

The European Humanist Federation, along with 80 MEPs and civil society groups, has signed an open letter to the European Commission and the European Council, urging them to condemn the latest developments in Hungary and take decisive action.

On 31 March, Hungary adopted a law giving the government wide and indefinite powers to rule by decree. This law also creates new offences heavily punishing persons who claim or spread a falsehood or a “distorted truth” in relation to the emergency, thus seriously limiting freedom of speech and creating a chilling effect on independent media.

The EHF is committed to human rights, the rule of law and democracy. The main source of inspiration for our viewpoints and actions are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its fundamental values:  freedom, equality, solidarity and human dignity.

The measures adopted in Hungary are in clear breach of these fundamental principles. This law effectively leads Hungary further away from a democracy and into an authoritarian regime, in obvious contradiction to the aims and values of the European Union, of which it is a member.

It is crucial to react timely to such moves. Humanism cannot flourish under an authoritarian regime. Human beings can only thrive in societies where fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed.

Liberty is an inherent part of human dignity. Freedom of speech, and thus a free press, is a cornerstone of an open society, as it is indispensable to ensure the free exchange of ideas and information necessary to social progress. The right to express and receive a diversity of points of view and the lack of fear of retribution from the State are essential to a humane society. Human beings can give meaning and shape to their own lives only in the framework of a democratic government defending and promoting fundamental rights.

Read the letter in full here.


Featured photo: Andrew Gustar


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