June 14th, 2017

Opposition slams Russian-style NGO bill, civil groups pledge disobedience

Socialist deputy group leader László Szakács said his party voted against the transparency law which it saw as one curbing the freedoms of civil organisations. The Democratic Coalition voiced support for civil society, which they said was as important a pillar of democracy as a free and independent media. Hungary needs Europe rather than Russia and prisons should not be filled with civil activists or opposition politicians – as in Russia – but with corrupt politicians and criminals, they added.

Green LMP said they would request the Constitutional Court’s scrutiny of the new law. Zsuzsanna Szelényi of the Együtt (Together) party called the law immoral, discriminative and unnecessary. According to the Liberal Party, the government’s aim was to stigmatise civil organisations and restrict their room for manoeuvre rather than to increase transparency through the Russian-style law.

The Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee indicated that they would boycott the law and not register. Amnesty International said the law was aimed against organisations helping the poor, sick children, refugees, migrants and other vulnerable groups providing services for them which the state should but would not.

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