Xpat Opinion: The ‘Magyar Gárda’ Remains Illegal In Hungary

  • 11 Jul 2013 10:00 AM
Xpat Opinion: The ‘Magyar Gárda’ Remains Illegal In Hungary
By Ferenc Kumin: Earlier this week, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg upheld a ruling that outlaws a civic organization called the Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard), a paramilitary organization of the extreme right.

File photos of the Magyar Gárda have become a common fixture in international media coverage of Hungary. Members of the paramilitary group lined up in uniform make for a sensational image. Trouble is that it leaves the mistaken impression that this group is still marching the streets. I still get questions about why the Hungarian government is not doing more to counter extremist groups.

The European Court ruling underlines a fact that few people seem to recall. While the Gárda, which was founded by the extreme-right political party, enjoyed unfettered freedom under the previous government, it was the Fidesz-led center-right government elected in 2010 that outlawed the organization, passing a law that made it a crime to “march in uniform with the intent of causing fear” and promoting hate.

Later, in a similar move, the Fidesz-led parliament banned symbols of totalitarian regimes when such symbols are displayed with the intent of violating the right to dignity of the victims.

The Magyar Gárda appealed the decision and went on to the European Court of Human Rights. In Strasbourg, the Court ruled that the Hungarian courts were right to ban the organization as freedom of speech could be limited if abused certain ways. With the Magyar Gárda banned, Hungary has become a safer place. The move was controversial, but we’re proud of that result.

Source: A Blog About Hungary

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