Hungary working against human rights – Hammar

September 25, 2015

“Hungary is working against the human rights that are the foundation of the European Union.”

“Without immigrants we wouldn’t have the social system we have today.  We need differences, complexities, and one another to build society for the future.”

– Karl Gustav Hilding Hammar, former Archbishop of Sweden

Speaking at the Gothenburg International Book Fair, Karl Gustav Hilding Hammar, who served as the head of Sweden’s Lutheran church from 1997 until 2006, said Europeans have an obligation to grant asylum to those who are entitled to receive it.

“In that sense Hungary is working against the human rights that are the foundation of the European Union,” said the former church leader.

Pointing out that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee as a child, Hammar says “every human being is created by God with certain rights and values” and that you can “see God in every person . . . That means that if you build walls and are hostile against fellow human beings, you are also in a way acting against God in those persons.”

Hammar says the first practical step is “to have an open heart” and “acknowledge the rights” of refugees and asylum seekers, and then find ways to “rearrange policies” to which one is accustomed.

He calls on Europeans to realize that the world is changing and points out that there have always been movements of people.

“It’s a different world tomorrow.  We’ll never be able to go back to a more nationalistically divided world. . . . If you live in a situation where you have bombs falling from the sky, then of course all of us would flee away with families and children.”

The former archbishop says such people should be granted political asylum, and recounts how, as a child, he listened to reports of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.

“We were happy when Hungarians thought that they could come to Sweden and we were happy to have them here.  And, of course, if we look back today, they have contributed a lot to our culture and the growth of the welfare society in Sweden.

“Without immigrants we wouldn’t have the social system we have today.  We need differences, complexities, and one another to build society for the future.”