More than a hundred Hungarian NGOs unite to protest against introduction of sovereignty protection law

December 01. 2023. – 02:31 PM



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More than a hundred Hungarian non-governmental organizations have issued a joint statement objecting the planned introduction of the sovereignty protection law. Among them are Amnesty International Hungary, Budapest Pride, the Civic Platform for Public Education (CKP), the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ).

"A country where people are not able to represent their own interests is not a democracy. In a place where civil society organisations cannot operate freely, our most basic rights are not being respected. There is no freedom in a country where citizens are accused of serving foreign interests if they speak their minds on public affairs," they write in their petition.

According to the signatories, the wording of the bill is deliberately vague, which will allow the new agency to label any public expression as one that serves foreign interests and threatens Hungary's sovereignty.

The legislative package, called a "sovereignty protection bill", was submitted to Parliament on 21 November by Fidesz parliamentary group leader Máté Kocsis. According to the proposal, a Sovereignty Protection Authority would be set up as of 1 February, and if a political party or a candidate were to accept foreign funding in an election campaign, they could face imprisonment. In addition to foreign donations, organisations running in municipal elections would be banned from accepting donations from domestic legal entities or organisations without legal personality, and anonymous donations would also be banned.

For more details on what the draft legislation says about the Sovereignty Protection Authority, see here.

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