OPERATION STARVE & STRANGLE: How the government uses the law to repress Hungary's civic spirit

On 13 February 2018, the Hungarian government introduced in Parliament the ‘Stop Soros’ package, a legislative proposal of three bills that target civil society organisations working on migration.

● Bill T/1976 on the licensing of organisations supporting migration;

● Bill T/19775 on the immigration financing duty;

● Bill T/19774 on the immigration restraint order.

These laws follow up on the 2017 NGO Law on foreign-funded organisations (Act LXXVI of 2017), for which the European Commission has launched a lawsuit against Hungary at 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 set of proposals comes amidst a wider effort to stigmatize specific individuals and non-governmental organisations, and has been presented as a bid to stop migration’, to ‘strengthen the protection of borders’ and to ‘protect Hungary’s national security interests’. The proposed measures will subject a number of areas key to the functioning of civic life in Hungary to government authorisation. They not only target those who engage in ‘supporting or funding migration’, but open the door to further arbitrary and politically motivated measures against civil society and freedom of expression in Hungary.

Read our full analysis with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee here. 

These laws follow up on the 2017 NGO Law on foreign-funded organisations (Act LXXVI of 2017), for which the European Commission has launched a lawsuit against Hungary at 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 set of proposals comes amidst a wider effort to stigmatize specific individuals and non-governmental organisations, and has been presented as a bid to stop migration’, to ‘strengthen the protection of borders’ and to ‘protect Hungary’s national security interests’. The proposed measures will subject a number of areas key to the functioning of civic life in Hungary to government authorisation. They not only target those who engage in ‘supporting or funding migration’, but open the door to further arbitrary and politically motivated measures against civil society and freedom of expression in Hungary.

Read our full analysis with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee here. 

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