Operation starve and strangle: How the government uses the law to repress Hungary's civic spirit

On 18 January 2018, the Hungarian government launched the ‘Stop Soros’ package, a proposal of three laws that target civil society organisations. 

● Draft law on the social responsibility of organisations supporting illegal migration;

● Draft law on immigration financing duty;

● Draft law on immigration restraint order.

These laws follow up on the 2017 NGO Law on foreign-funded organisations (Act LXXVI of 2017) over which the European Commission has decided to refer Hungary to the EU Court of Justice. The 2017 NGO Law requires that NGOs receiving foreign funding over €24,000 register on a separate list, report and publicly label themselves as ‘foreign-funded’ or face sanctions.

The latest proposal comes amidst a wider effort to stigmatize specific individuals and non-governmental organisations, and has been presented as a bid to stop ‘illegal migration’, to ‘strengthen the protection of borders’ and to ‘protect Hungary’s national security interests’. The proposed measures will affect a number of areas key to the functioning of civic life in Hungary. Despite their name, they not only target those who allegedly engage in supporting or funding ‘illegal migration’, but through less-conspicuous provisions also target the wider group of NGOs.

Read our full analysis here.

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