Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on new restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States, has expressed concern at the adoption by the Hungarian Parliament on 20 June of a package of laws criminalising the work of NGOs who help asylum-seekers and migrants.
“The bill was adopted before the Venice Commission, which is meeting on 22-23 June, has issued its opinion on it, as requested by the Assembly. I am also dismayed that it was adopted on World Refugee Day,” said the rapporteur.
“The new law criminalises a range of lawful activities by grass-roots activists and NGOs in support of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants and will seriously impede their work. It is problematic from the point view of international human rights standards, and especially the freedoms of association and expression,” the rapporteur concluded.
In May 2018 the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights adopted Mr Cruchten’s report on “New restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States”, in which it called on Hungary to refrain from adopting the previous and less restrictive version of the law in question. This is due to be debated by the Assembly on 27 June.