OHCHR representative: Life for NGOs made difficult in Hungary

The operating environment for civil organisations in Hungary has been made more complicated in recent years on the basis of a well-established scheme, a representative for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on public television.

Birgit Van Hout, the OHCHR’s Regional Representative for Europe, said on news channel M1 that the government’s “Stop Soros” package of legislation was not the first such measure taken to restrict the opportunity for civil society to act.

The Hungarian government has the right to take steps to increase transparency, but these cannot make the operating environment so complicated that civil organisations are practically unable to operate or feel that they have been stigmatised, she added.

We believe the government’s “Stop Soros” package violates international laws on human rights because it is discriminatory and also from the point of view of access to funding, Van Hout said.

Governments have full freedom to control migration, but they must respect the ban on discrimination, and this package of legislation stigmatises organisations that deal with migrants and refugees, she added. The OHCHR finds the taxation of funding concerning because access to this funding is an inseparable part of freedom of assembly, Van Hout said.

Source: MTI

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