Hungarian Government’s Harassment of NGOs Criticized at HDIM
In their interventions before this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, several speakers referred to the Hungarian government’s steps towards limiting freedoms and the rule of law (see e.g. the Opening Session’s key note speech by Elisa Massimino, President of Human Rights First). A side event held by several Hungarian NGOs focused more extensively on a number of these problems.
At this side event, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee expressed its solidarity with the Hungarian NGOs. The NHC referred to the recent statement by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, in which concern was expressed about moves by the Hungarian authorities against local NGOs, attempting to thwart the distribution of Norwegian funds to these NGOs. Earlier this year, the government already described some Hungarian NGOs as “problematic civic organisations”. Since then, NGOs have been exposed to unannounced financial inspections. Prime Minister Victor Orbán even described some NGOs as “political activists paid from abroad” trying to “influence Hungarian politics”. At the side event, the NGOs made clear that they were not only critical towards this government but had also criticized policies of previous governments.