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PACE calls on Hungary to suspend debate on NGO law, rescind Lex CEU

On Thursday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on Hungary to suspend parliamentary debate on Fidesz's NGO law and halt implementation of Lex CEU.

A resolution proposed by Danish politician Mogens Jensen and approved by the body also called on Hungarian authorities to engage in "open dialogue" with civil society, the Council of Europe, and other international organizations regarding the two laws.
Regarding the NGO law, PACE took issue with the "the lack of internal public consultation on the draft, the gravity of the sanctions – including the possibility that an NGO could be shut down for non-compliance – and its scope of application, which excludes some NGOs such as sports and religious organisations.
"The Assembly agrees that NGOs must be transparent about their sources of funds, but cannot accept the allegation that civil society organisations serve foreign interest groups, rather than the public interest, and may endanger the national security and sovereignty of a country simply because they receive foreign funding over a certain yearly threshold," the Assembly said.
According to a report published by PACE, the Assembly expressed concern (with respect to the NGO law) on

  • the lack of public consultation prior to its submission to parliament;
  • the obligation for NGOs receiving foreign funding to indicate this on all the materials published or distributed;
  • the obligation for NGOs to submit detailed personal data of foreign donors, including private individuals;
  • the gravity of the sanctions provided in the draft, including ultimately the dissolution of the association for non-compliance with administrative obligations; and
  • the scope of application of the draft law, which applies to certain associations and excludes others, such as sports and religious organisations.

PACE also stated that it regretted the "overall accusatory and labeling rhetoric by Hungarian public officials" surrounding the drawing up and discussion of the draft law, which it said "raises doubts about the real aims of the proposed legislation".

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:53

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