Sign up for weekly updates

In solidarity with civil society in Hungary

Protesters march in Budapest, Hungary, on 21 May 2017, in a demonstration against tough laws targeting foreign-backed NGOs and higher education institutions
Protesters march in Budapest, Hungary, on 21 May 2017, in a demonstration against tough laws targeting foreign-backed NGOs and higher education institutions

STR/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on on 20 February 2018.

On 13 February 2018, the Hungarian government tabled to Parliament a proposed legislative pack of three laws, commonly referred to as "Stop Soros". The newly proposed legislation would further restrict Hungarian civil society ability to carry out their work, by requiring organizations that "support migration" to obtain national security clearance and a government permit to perform basic functions. The proposed law would also require organizations to pay a tax of 25% of any foreign funding aimed at "supporting migration".

Failure to do so would subject them to steps so serious that they could lead to exorbitant fines, bankruptcy, and the dissolving of the NGO involved.

These come in a context of an already shrinking space for civil society in Hungary and contravene Hungary's obligations under international law to protect the right to freedom of association, expression and movement.

We believe the new proposals represent the latest initiative in the Hungarian government's escalating effort to crack down 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.

As defenders of rights and freedoms, we want people everywhere to be able to speak out without being attacked, threatened or jailed. Open debate on matters relating to government policies and practice is necessary in every society, and human rights defenders should not face criminalization for voicing their sometimes dissenting voices. Countries need to put laws in place which keep human rights defenders safe from harm, rather than introducing repressive laws that aim to silence those who speak out.

Human rights defenders defend the rights of people in their own communities and their countries, and in doing so they protect all of our rights, globally. Human rights defenders are often the last line of defence for a free and just society and undertake immense personal risks and sacrifices to do their work.

We stand in solidarity with civil society and human rights defenders in Hungary.

They are courageous people, committed to creating a fairer society. Without their courage, the world we live in would be less fair, less just and less equal.

We are calling on the Hungarian Parliament to reject the proposed laws in their entirety and let the NGOs and defenders continue their work, instead of defending themselves against such attacks.

The below listed organizations declare their support and solidarity with non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders in Hungary:

ILGA - Europe
Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)
Human Rights Watch
AEDH - Association Europeenne de Droits de l'Homme
FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
World Organisation against Torture, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Light for the World
Funders' Initiative for Civil Society
Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights
CONCORD - European Confederation of Relief and development NGOs
Human Rights First
Transgender Europe
Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe
International Civil Society Centre
Reporters sans Frontières
ENAR - European Network Against Racism
European Volunteer Centre
Civil Society Europe
Protection International - Belgium
çavaria vzw - Belgium
11.11.11. - Belgium
Artsen zonder Vakantie - Belgium
Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen - Belgium
Liga voor mensenrechten - Belgium
WWF Belgium - Belgium
ACAT - Belgique/ Belgie/ Belgium
Volonteurope Belgium - Belgium
CROSOL - Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity - Croatia
Centre for Peace Studies from Zagreb - Croatia
GONG - Croatia
Brod Ecological Society-BED - Croatia
Documenta - Center for Dealing with the Past - Croatia
CESI-Center for Education, Counselling and Research - Croatia
Human Rights House Zagreb - Croatia
Rehabilitation center for stress and trauma - Croatia
Adra Česká republika - Czech Republic
Open Society Fund/ Nadace OSF Praha - Czech Republic
Transparency International ČR - Czech Republic
Člověk v tísni - People in Need - Czech Republic
Forum 2000 - The Forum 2000 Foundation - Czech Republic
META - Společnost pro příležitosti mladých migrantů - Association for opportunities of young migrants - Czech Republic
Most pro o.p.s. - poradna pro cizince - Czech Republic
SIMI - Sdružení pro integraci a migraci - Association for integration and migration - Czech Republic
Glopolis - Glopolis - Czech Republic
Centrum pro integraci cizinců - Centre for Integration of Foreigners - Czech Republic
Diakonie (Českobratrské církve evangelické) - Diaconia (Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren) - Czech Republic
Most - Czech Republic
Konsorcium nevládních organizací pracujících s migranty - Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations - Czech Republic
DEMAS - Association for Democracy Assistance and Human Rights - Asociace pro podporu demokracie a lidských práv - Czech Republic
Pavel Havlicek, Analyst at the Research Centre, Association for International Affairs Prague, Czech Republic
Organizace pro pomoc uprchlíkům - Organization for aid to refugees
Denmark Nyt Europa - Denmark
Kehitysmaayhdistys Pääskyt ry - Finland
Suomen Pakolaisapu | Finnish Refugee Council - Finland
ETMU ry (Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration) - Finland
Suomen Nuorisoyhteistyö - Allianssi ry - Finland
Suomen Setlementtiliitto - Finland
Ensi- ja turvakotien liitto - Finland
Suomen Mielenterveysseura ry - Finland
Ihmisoikeusliitto ry - Finnish League for Human Rights - Finland
Kehitysyhteistyöjärjestöjen EU-yhdistys Kehys ry - The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU Kehys - Finland
Vammaisten perus- ja ihmisoikeusjärjestö Kynnys ry - Finland
Suomen somalialaisten liitto - Finland
Seta LGBTIQ Rights in Finland - Finland
Trasek ry - Finland
LSVD - Germany
HES - Germany
ADRA Deutschland e.V - Germany
BAfF e.V.-Bundesweite Arbeitsgemeinschaft Psychosozialer Zentren für Flüchtlinge und Folteropfer - Germany
Forum Menschenrechte - Germany
VENRO - Verband Entwicklungspolitik und humanitäre Hilfe deutscher Nichtregierungsorganisationen e.V. - Germany
Solidaritätsdienst International e.V. (SODI) - Germany
Adivasi-Koordination in Deutschland e.V. - Germany
ACAT-Deutschland e.V. - Germany
Missionsärztliches Institut Würzburg - Germany
Deutsches Medikamenten-Hilfswerk action medeor e.V. - Germany
Deutsche Kommission Justitia et Pax - Germany
Germanwatch e.V. - Germany
Welthaus Bielefeld e.V. - Germany
Civil Liberties Union for Europe e.V." - Germany
CILD - Italian Civil Liberties Advocacy Coalition - Italy
Dr Andrea Gullotta, Memorial Italia Italy
Antigone - Italy
Front Line Defenders - Ireland
Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation - Ireland
Christian Aid Ireland - Ireland
Transgender Equality Network Ireland - Ireland
Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation - Latvia
Latvia's Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health - Latvia
ASTI (Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés) - Luxembourg
Passerell - Luxembourg
ACAT Luxemburg - Luxembourg
Reech eng Hand - Luxembourg
Caritas Luxembourg - Luxembourg
Aidsfonds - Netherlands
Amsterdamse Diakonie - Netherlands
Article 19 - Netherlands
ASKV - Steunpunt Vluchtelingen - Netherlands
Blikopeners - Netherlands
Civicus - Netherlands
Clara Wichmannfonds - Netherlands
Dance4Life - Netherlands
Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM) - Netherlands
Free Press Unlimited - Netherlands
Humanistisch Verbond - Netherlands
Humanity House - Netherlands
IMMO - instituut voor Mensenrechten en Medisch Onderzoek – Netherlands
INLIA - International Network of Local Initiatives with Asylumseekers – Netherlands
Justice and Peace Project - Netherlands
KOMPASS - Netherlands
La Strada - Netherlands
Libereco - Partnership for Human Rights - Netherlands
Milieudefensie – Netherlands
Movies that Matter - Netherlands
Netherlands Helsinki Committee - Netherlands
Foundation Max van der Stoel - Netherlands
NVJ - Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten - Netherlands
Oxfam - Netherlands
Partizan Publik - Netherlands
Pax - Netherlands
Power of Art House - Netherlands
Privacy First - Netherlands
Prospector - Netherlands
Stichting LOS - Landelijk Ongedocumenteerden Steunpunt – Netherlands
Stichting Vluchteling – Netherlands
Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten - UAF - Netherlands
The Amsterdam Gay Pride - Netherlands
The Hague Peace Projects - Netherlands
Transnational Institute (TNI) - Netherlands
VLot - fonds voor vluchtelingen - Netherlands
VluchtelingenWerk NL - Netherlands
Fundacja im. Stefana Batorego - Poland
Sieć Obywatelska Watchdog Polska - Poland
Projekt: Polska - Poland
Stowarzyszenie przeciw Antysemityzmowi i Ksenofobii Otwarta Rzeczpospolita - Poland
Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej - Poland
Instytut Spraw Publicznych - Poland
Fundacja ePaństwo - Poland
Panoptykon - Poland
Polskie Towarzystwo Prawa Antydyskryminacyjnego - Poland
Fundacja Pole Dialogu - Poland
Polski Instytut Praw Człowieka I Biznesu - Poland
Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza - Poland
Pracownia Badań i Innowacji Społecznych "Stocznia - Poland
Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej - Poland
Fundacja Autonomia - Poland
Stowarzyszenie Klon/Jawor - Poland
Małopolskie Towarzystwo Oświatowe z Nowego Sącza - Poland
Fundacja Ari Ari - Poland
Ogólnopolska Federacja Organizacji Pozarządowych - Poland
Instytut Prawa i Społeczeństwa - Poland
Fundacja Partners Polska – Poland
Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka - Poland
Grupy Zagranica - Poland
The Unit for Social Innovation & Research Shipyard - Poland
INPRIS - Institute for Law and Society - Poland
National Federation of Polish NGOs - Poland
Centre for International Relations (CIR) - Poland
Citizens Network Watchdog Poland - Poland
Institute of Public Affairs - Poland
Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Open Republic - Poland
Stefan Batory Foundation Poland
Danuta Przywara, President of the Board, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights Poland
Inițiativa România - Romania
NGOs Federation for Children Romania - Romania
RISE Romania - Romania
Resource Center for Public Participation - CeRe (Romania) - Romania
FONSS (The Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations for Social Services) - Romania
Gabriela Tudor Foundation - Romania
Mediawise Society Association - Romania
The Civil Society Development Foundation - Romania
Expert Forum - Romania
Center for Independent Journalism - Romania
Federatia Organizatiilor Neguvernamentale pentru Copil - Romania
Asociatia One World Romania - Romania
Asociatia Militia Spirituala - Romania
ActiveWatch - Romania
CENTRAS - Romania
Asociatia Pro Democratia - Romania
Agenția Impreuna - Romania
Fundatia Estuar - Romania
Dizabnet - Federatia prestatorilor pentru persoane cu dizabilitati - Romania
The Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief - Romania
Alaturi de Voi Romania - Romania
Moscow Helsinki Group - Russia
Igor Vladimirovich Batov, Chairman of the Council of the Pskov Regional Environmental Rights Human Rights Movement ʺFree Coastʺ, a member of the Public Chamber of the Pskov region - Russia
Andrei Suslov, Center for Citizanship Education and Human Rights, Perm - Russia
Evdokimova Natalia Leonidovna, Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg. - Russia
Lilia Shibanova, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group Russia
Bureau for Regional Outreach Campaigns - BROC Vladivostok, Russia
Pride Kosice - Slovakia
Central European Forum - Slovakia
Human Rights League - Slovakia
Slovak Humanitarian Council - Slovakia
People in Need Slovakia - Slovakia
Via Iuris - Slovakia
Inakosť - Slovakia
Transfuzia - Slovakia
Bi-centrum - Slovakia
EduRoma - Slovakia
Centrum komunitneho organizovania - Centre for Community Organizing - Slovakia
SLOGA, platforma nevladnih organizacij za razvoj, globalno učenje in humanitarno pomoč - Slovenia
Društvo Odnos - Slovenia
Mirovni inštitut - Slovenia
Kulturno-umetniško društvo Mreža - Slovenia
Društvo za uveljavljanje enakosti in pluralnosti Vita Activa - Slovenia
Društvo informacijski center Legebitra - Slovenia
TransAkcija - Slovenia
Society for awareness raising and protection - center of antidiscrimination (OVCA) - Slovenia
Društvo za nenasilno komunikacijo - Association for nonviolent communications - Slovenia
Focus, društvo za sonaraven razvoj - Focus, association for sustainable development - Slovenia
Rights International Spain - Spain
Asociación Katío - Spain
Ecologistas en Acción - Spain
AIETI - Asociacion de Investigacion y Especializacion Sobre Temas Iberoamericanos
APDHE - Spain
ICID - Spain
Comité Monseñor Óscar Romero de Madrid - Spain
Mujeres de Negro contra la Guerra - Madrid - Spain
Acción Verapaz - Spain
Colectivo Ansur - Spain
Calala Fondo de Mujeres - Spain
Global Witness - Spain
Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) - Switzerland
ACAT-Schweiz Suisse Svizzera - Switzerland
Pylyp Orlyk Institute of Democracy - Ukraine
La Strada - Ukraine
Kharkiv Human Rights Group - Ukraine
Suspilni Ekolohichni Initsiatyvy - Ukraine
Kharkiv Regional Foundation "Public Alternative" - Ukraine
Human Rights Information Centre - Ukraine
Kyiv Educational Centre "Prostir Tolerantnosti" - Ukraine
Human Rights Centre "All Rights" - Ukraine
Ternopil Human Rights Group - Ukraine
Vostok SOS - Ukraine
EHA "Green World" - Ukraine
Adaptatsiynyi Cholovichyi Tsentr - Ukraine
Helsinski Initiative - XXI - Ukraine
Center for Civil Liberties - Ukraine
Ekolohichna Hrupa Pechenihy - Ukraine
Romano radio Chiriklo - Ukraine
Civil Initiative Center - Ukraine
Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York - United Kingdom
CIVILIS Derechos Humanos - Venezuela
Acción Solidaria on HIV/aids - Venezuela
Asociación Civil Fuerza, Unión, Justicia, Solidaridad y Paz - Venezuela
Programa de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos - Venezuela
Centro Comunitario de Aprendizaje - Venezuela
Comité de Familiares de Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989 - Venezuela
Centro de Justicia y Paz - Venezuela

What other IFEX members are saying

Latest Tweet:

Singapore: Public Order Bill threatens to further restrict assembly and speech rights. "Imagined threats to public…