New draft legislation in Hungary would allow the government to target any non-governmental organisation working with migrants.
According to human rights group Amnesty International, the draft law, which was submitted to parliament on February 14, could suspend, disband and fine NGOs working on migration, calling it as a “deeply disturbing and unjustified assault on civil society”.
The new bill, to be submitted soon to parliament, would target civic groups which organise, support or finance migration. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the proposed measures would require such groups to obtain permission from the interior minister for their activities.
Amnesty’s Europe director Gauri van Gulik said “these proposals have nothing to do with protecting national security or borders, and everything [to do] with muzzling those who work to assist people in need and dare to raise their voices.”
According to the Reuters news agency, the bill is a key part of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration campaign targeting US financier George Soros whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values in eastern Europe.
The government said the bill, which would also impose a 25% tax on foreign donations to NGOs that back migration in Hungary, is meant to deter illegal immigration Orban says is eroding European stability and has been stoked in part by Soros.
Pro-government media reported earlier that the new legislation could lead to a ban on Soros, who has US and Hungarian citizenship, entering the country.
“(Its goal) is to stigmatize certain civil organizations that the government does not like… and to distance them from society, and in the end make their operation impossible,” said the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which receives a major chunk of its funding from Soros.