Civil Society Europe invites Civil Society Organisations across Europe to join in a common statement in solidarity with people in Hungary. The legislative proposal that was tabled in the Hungarian parliament on 7 April would force NGOs receiving more than € 24,000 per year from outside Hungary to register as “civic organisations receiving foreign funds”. This includes funding from EU sources not managed by a Hungarian institution. This would effectively stigmatise any organisation that receives such funding.
Information about foreign funding has to be clearly presented on NGOs’ web page as well as in other public materials. According to the bill, in case an organisatsion violates these rules, the State Prosecutor’s Office has the right to end the acivity of this organisation.
Kari Käsper, the director of the Estonian Human Rights Center said that it is well understood that civil society organisations have to operate transparently and lawfully, but state restrictions should not impair freedom of assembly and association as one of the fundamental principles of human rights. “That is exactly why EHRC has decided to join the statement and stand in solidarity with our Hungarian colleagues,” Käsper explained.
The requirement included in the proposal is clearly against current practices in European Union, but a similar law exists for example in Russia. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that NGOs must have the right to carry out their projects and find funding freely and independently. Civil Society Europe finds the demand for registrating and labelling to be discriminating and purposely harming the reputation of these organisations while presenting them as a threat to Hungarians.
Civil Society Europe brings together 28 European networks of civil society organisations working towards regenerating the European project around the shared values of Equality, Solidarity, Inclusiveness and Democracy. Read more about the situation in Hungary and join the statement here.