Here is the letter of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, co-signed by us and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans urging the EC to act to protect NGOs and the rule of law in Hungary.
On Tuesday, 13 June, after two postponed votes, the Hungarian Parliament adopted the Law on the Transparency of Foreign Funded Organisations. The community of civil society organisations united in the Civilizáció campaign continue to believe that the law is unnecessary, stigmatising and harmful.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) denounces the unlawful NGO Act, even in its final version. According to the watchdog organization, the bill should not have been adopted at all, as it violates fundamental rights. The organization believes that the most effective way of acting against the unlawful provisions is not to abide the law the. They underline that, given their economic management is already fully transparent, this would not violate anyone’s rights or the demand of transparency.
It has been alleged multiple times in recent years that civil society organisations operate in a non-transparent fashion, and do not reveal the sources of their funding. It therefore makes sense to clear up any confusion: this document outlines the current regulations regarding transparency and reporting requirements for civil society organisations. If the goal is actually to increase transparency, this paper will also explain how this can be achieved without increasing reporting tasks which are already quite time-consuming. We will also try to find the reason why organisations established by groups of citizens should, in the first place, be held to the same principles as those applying to the state.