Legal Analysis of Hungary’s Anti-NGO Bill

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This briefing paper presents a legal analysis by lawyers of the Open Society Justice Initiative of Hungarian legislation, passed by parliament on June 20, 2018, that criminalizes organized efforts to offer support to refugees and migrants. 

As part of a continuing campaign against civil society organizations that receive some of their funding from the Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, the legislation was first presented by the government in May 2018 as the “Stop Soros package.”

The legislation represents another attack by the Hungarian government on European democratic values, including respect for the rule of law and human rights. It gravely violates Hungary’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, European Union law, and the Refugee Convention.

The legislation:

  • allows Hungarian police to deny asylum seekers and other migrants in Hungary access to independent legal and other advice and assistance;
  • criminalizes the longstanding, legitimate work of lawyers, civil society organizations’ staff, and volunteers, threatening them and their supporters with prison terms; and
  • allows Hungarian officials to deny asylum to refugees for traveling through unsafe countries that may lack effective asylum systems.

Originally posted June 18, 2018 ahead of the vote in parliament, the summary was updated July 5, 2018, to take account of the legislation being passed.