As the President of the Conference of INGOs, I am extremely concerned by the criminalization of essential human rights work by NGOs in the context of migration that this bill proposes. The modification of the Criminal Code by this Bill targets organizations and professionals who are merely providing legitimate and necessary assistance to asylum-seekers. In addition, this draft Bill would criminalise the ‘production or dissemination of informational materials’, and other ‘organizational activities’ such as advocacy. These two elements alone risk seriously undermining the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association which are guaranteed by the European Convention for Human Rights, itself the cornerstone of Hungary’s membership of the Council of Europe.
I urge the Hungarian Parliament to refrain from any further action on Bill T/333 until the forthcoming Venice Commission Opinion is fully taken into account. I also call on the Hungarian authorities to cease and desist from their current practice of stigmatising and labelling Hungarian civil society organisations.
Other declations / information:
Joint declaration by Anna Rurka, President of the Conference of INGOs and Cyril Ritchie, President of the Expert Council on NGO Law: Hungary: Conference of INGOs concerned about 'Stop Soros package', 14 February 2018
Statement by the President of the Conference of INGOs and the President of the Expert Council on NGO Law on the labelling of NGOs as Foreign Agents in Hungary, 7 March 2017
Council of Europe Venice Commission, Opinion on the Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations receiving support from abroad (16-17/6/2017)
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Commissioner calls on Hungary’s National Assembly to reject law on foreign-funded NGOs (3/5/2017)
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 2162 (2017), Alarming developments in Hungary: draft NGO law restricting civil society and possible closure of the Central European University 27/4/2017);
Council of Europe's Conference of INGOs - Expert Council on NGO Law, Opinion on the Hungarian Draft Act on the Transparency of Organisations Supported from Abroad (24/4/2017);
Council of Europe's Conference of INGOs, Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process - Fact Finding Visit in Hungary - Report on the visit - Comments on the report by the Hungarian Government (20-22/11/2016)