It doesn’t go without NGOs - the Hungarian society needs the civil society organizations

Copying the Russian template, during recent year the Hungarian government has attempted to stigmatize and vilify Hungarian NGOs. The new draft law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad now debated in the Parliament is a next step in this direction, suppressing debate, eventually every contrary opinion.
Hungarian society created and needs the work of civil society organizations. Working for the common good and democracy, NGOs provide many and irreplaceable services day to day: they provide opportunities for the self-organizing of the citizens; a framework for their joint activities in the fields of culture, education, health, environmental protection and advocacy. NGOs allow citizens' groups to jointly represent their interests, participate in public life, and control the current practitioners of political power.

This law, if adopted in its present form, is unnecessary, stigmatizing, and destructive.

Unnecessary, because legislation on foundations and associations already guarantee that these organizations have to implement operate transparently in Hungary. (Non-profit organizations have to comply with particularly strict transparency rules.) The organizations' annual reports contain detailed information about the annual resources (whether domestic or foreign) and how much money they receive and how they are used.

Stigmatizing, because according to the law, organizations which receive more than 7.2 million HUF annually from abroad (both from private and public sources) will have to register separately, and even have to include on their website and publications "the organization is supported from foreign sources". This label must be worn for three years even if, in the meantime, no other support is received from abroad, and even if only a small portion of their income comes from "foreign sources". The communication of the government is clear: foreign is bad.

Destructive, because, the members of the Hungarian civil society organizations often carry out public tasks and niche activities but face significant resource shortages. The planned changes are likely to undermine philanthropy, because potential donors will unlikely be willing add their name to an NGO which, according to the law, "could endanger the political and economic interests of the country and the operating of legitimate institutions".

Please join the growing list of NGOs from around Europe condemning this draft law and the intimidation of their Hungarian fellows by signing the statement initiated by Civil Society Europe: