Migrant camp at the border between Serbia and Hungary. Photo/Archive/EPA/ZOLTAN BALOGH
Migrant camp at the border between Serbia and Hungary. Photo/Archive/EPA/ZOLTAN BALOGH

Dozens of civil society organizations across Europe have called on Hungary to withdraw proposed legislation that would "undermine and stigmatize organizations working to defend the human rights of migrants and refugees".

87 European NGOs have expressed their concern over proposed legislation to "stifle" organizations working to defend the human rights of migrants and refugees. In a statement, the organizations describe the proposals as "draconian and regressive" and say they could "arbitrarily restrict fundamental rights and freedoms of civil society". 


Proposals 'stigmatize migrants' rights organizations' 

The proposed legislation would further "undermine and stigmatize organizations working to defend the human rights of migrants and refugees", according to the document available online. "The treatment of our Hungarian members and partners and the laws being introduced to stifle civil society are deeply concerning. These will significantly limit their ability to carry out work independently, could ultimately lead to their closure and be damaging to the human rights of migrants and refugees. Such measures that penalize solidarity and support to migrants including asylum seekers and refugees should not be tolerated," reads the statement. 

The signatories say the "deliberate moves in Hungary to shrink civil society space have created an atmosphere where people working for NGOs are threatened and harassed and made afraid and insecure in their daily lives". 

Hungarian actions "threaten" human rights principles 

The NGOs say "Hungary, as a member of the European Union, has a responsibility to protect fundamental rights and freedoms and to uphold the values of solidarity, human rights, democracy, equality, humanitarianism and the rule of law". The Hungarian government's actions threaten these values and principles, they add. "These hostile moves have created mistrust, closed dialogue and will have a lasting impact on the Hungarian civil society and the people they serve," the statement continues. "Each Member State has a responsibility to act in defense of democracy and civil society. We, the undersigned organizations therefore strongly call for the withdrawal of the Hungarian legislation proposed," it concludes. 
 

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