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Support Hungarian human rights associations and migrants, support democracy in Europe

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fr IN FRENCH fr

[1st of June 2018]

The victory of Fidesz and its leader, Viktor Orban, in the Hungarian legislative elections held in April 2018 means more dark times for Hungarian NGOs. The threats they have been subjected to by the government over several months and the publication in a newspaper close to the Prime Minister of a list of 200 activists and members of associations termed "mercenaries of Soros", aim to create a climate of fear and to silence NGOs. The announced adoption of a law entitled "Stop Soros", the third version of which was unveiled on the 29th May,  is aimed particularly at NGOs defending migrants and refugees. It introduces criminal penalties as far as imprisonment for "assistance to illegal immigration". This will penalize activities such as helping a person to apply for asylum, distributing information materials on the asylum procedure or organizing networks (including of specialized lawyers).  This law, which is a continuation of legislation approved in June 2017, is an unprecedented attack in the European Union against freedom of association, pluralism and freedom of expression.

French NGOs are extremely concerned for the future of their Hungarian colleagues from the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International and other non-governmental organizations working on the ground for the defense of human rights and democracy. They wish to express their support and solidarity with Hungarian associations whose commitment and professionalism they have come to know through different European networks. These organizations work in the field on a daily basis to support migrants in Hungary and at the borders, despite the adoption of numerous repressive laws enabling deportations to Serbia and the systematic detention of asylum seekers.

To attack freedom of association is to attack part of the foundations of Europe. NGOs are major players in practicing democracy. They guarantee respect for human rights, pluralism and citizenship. During his speech at the European Parliament on 17 April 2018, the President of the French Republic recalled his commitment to democracy and against populism. However, France has yet to condemn the attacks against Hungarian NGOs while countries like the United States, Canada and Sweden have expressed their support.

Therefore, French NGOs call on the French authorities to give meaning to the speech made by the President of the Republic by using all available means to condemn the Orban government’s policy and to offer support to Hungarian NGOs. Among these means is support for the European Commission's proposal to link, in the financial programming 2021-2027, the granting of European credits to conditionality based on respect of the rule of law, as well as triggering the procedure envisaged in the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union to protect the rule of law. Indeed, we cannot belong to a political union and benefit from the financial solidarity of its members without sharing and fully respecting the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

 

SIGNATORIES :

Thierry Le Roy, President et Pierre Henry, General director - France terre d’asile
Malik Salemkour, President - Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
Geneviève Jacques, President et Jean-Claude Mas, Secretary general - la Cimade
Dominique Sopo, President - SOS Racisme
Marc Noailly, President et Jean-François Ploquin, General director, - Forum réfugiés-Cosi
Patrick Baudoin et Michel Tubiana, Honorary Presidents - FIDH
Günter Burkhardt, Executive Director – Pro Asyl
Roberto Zaccaria, President, et Mario Degasperi, Director – Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati (CIR)