INCLO welcomes EU court ruling on Hungary's anti-NGO law

INCLO welcomes EU court ruling, calling on governments to revoke hostile NGO legislation and refrain from adopting such laws.

All fifteen (15) member organizations of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) join the Hungarian community of civil society organizations to welcome the decision of the European Court of Justice (CJEU), which ruled last week that Hungary’s anti-NGO law violated European Union law.

The European ruling on the Hungarian legislation bears great significance to local and national organizations who, through their work, hold their governments to account for obligations concerning anti-corruption, fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to protect the rights of people in most need, the environment and their access to information and justice.

The 2017 Hungarian Law on the Transparency of Foreign Funded Organizations, required non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who receive funding from abroad above the threshold of 7,2 million HUF annually (approximately 21 000 EUR) to register as “foreign-supported” organizations, report their donors’ names and publish that they are “foreign-funded” on websites, press products and publications. CJEU found that the law is discriminatory and imposes unjustified restrictions contrary to EU rules on free movement of capital, the right to respect for private and family life, personal data protection and freedom of association. The Hungarian government is yet to repeal the law.

Stefania Kapronczay, the head of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) who was publicly attacked during the stigmatization campaign conducted by the Hungarian government, said: “The NGO law is about the thousands of citizens we represent and whose voices can only be heard through us. It is about the citizens that criticize those exercising power, which explains why those in power have recently been replying with personal attacks instead of substantial answers.”

HCLU is an INCLO member and part of Hungary’s national community of NGOs (Civilization) who took a firm national and international stand against the Hungarian law and the hostile environment it created in the country.

INCLO expresses concern about the NGOs and other civil society actors in countries across the world who often become the target of public vilification, hostile legislation, arbitrary enforcement, surveillance, and in more extreme cases, freedom of movement restrictions, intimidation and arrest.

INCLO calls on governments to revoke hostile legislation against NGOs and refrain from adopting laws adversely affecting their legitimate activities, having a chilling effect on freedom of expression and association.

Agora International Human Rights Group (Agora) Russia
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) USA
The Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Israel
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) Canada
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) Argentina
Dejusticia Colombia
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) Australia
Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) India
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) Hungary
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Ireland
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Kenya
Kontras Indonesia
Legal Resources Centre (LRC) South Africa
Liberty United Kingdom

INCLO is a network of 15 independent, national human rights organizations from different countries around the globe that work together to promote fundamental rights and freedoms.

Share

Related articles

Advocate General of the CJEU: Hungarian law that restricts NGO financing from abroad is incompatible with EU law

According to the Court of Justice Advocate General’s opinion, the fact that under the Hungarian 2017 Lex NGO, civil society organisations receiving foreign donations are subject to restrictions violates the right to the protection of private life and the right to freedom of association, and infringes the principle of free movement of capital. This is not justified by the general interest objectives relied on by the government of Hungary. Based on the AG opinion published today, the Court of Justice of the European Union is likely to decide that the Lex NGO is in breach of the EU law.

Public hearing is next step in the fight against the stigmatization of Hungarian civil society actors

The action against the act stigmatizing Hungarian civil society organizations has entered a new phase: on 22 October the Court of Justice of the European Union will conduct a public hearing on the case.

Call for urgent amicus briefs!

In April 2014 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared invalid the Data Retention Directive that unified the rules of the retention of selective data by Internet and telephone services and determined the accessibility of data by authorities in the member states. Despite the content of the judgment, the Hungarian act allowing data retention is still in force. In October, 2014 the HCLU started litigation against two major service providers in order to force the Hungarian Constitutional Court (CC) to repeal the unlawful act.