(Ligue des droits de l’homme) The victory of Fidesz and its leader, Viktor Orban, in the Hungarian parliamentary elections in April 2018, opens a new black page for Hungarian civil society organiations (CSOs). The government’s threats they have been exposed to for several months and the publication of a list of 200 activists and members of associations qualified as “mercenaries of Soros” in a newspaper close to the Prime Minister aim at creating a climate of fear and silence. The adoption of a law entitled “Stop Soros” is aimed more specifically, in its version unveiled on 29 May, against associations defending migrant and refugee persons. It introduces penal sanctions, including imprisonment, for “aiding illegal immigration”. Activities such as assisting a person to lodge an asylum application, distributing information material on the asylum procedure or to organise networks (including lawyers, lawyers, etc.), etc., will be penalized. This law, which is part of the continuity of an initial legislation of June 2017, constitutes an unprecedented attack in the European Union against freedom of association, pluralism and freedom of expression.
French CSOs are extremely concerned for the future of their Hungarian colleagues, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International and other non-governmental organizations in the field of human rights protection and democracy. They wish to express their support and solidarity with the Hungarian associations known for their commitment and professionality. These associations carry out daily field work to support foreign people in Hungary and at the borders, while several repressive laws have been adopted, allowing the return to Serbia and the automatic detention of asylum seekers.
To attack freedom of association is to attack one of the foundations of Europe. CSOs are major actors of democracy. They guarantee the respect of the rights of human rights, pluralism and citizenship. In his speech to the European Parliament on 17 April 2018, the President of the French Republic recalled his commitment to democracy and against the populisms. However, no strong word from France has come to condemn the attacks against Hungarian associations, while countries such as the United States, Canada and Sweden expressed their support. Consequently, the French NGOs ask the French authorities to give their full implementation to the President’s speech by using the means at his disposal to condemn Orban’s policy and support Hungarian associations. This includes endorsing the European Commission’s proposal in the financial programming 2021-2027 to link the granting of the European funds to the respect for the rule of law and the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Indeed, one cannot belong to a political union and benefit from the financial solidarity of its members without sharing and fully respect the rule of law, human rights and democracy.
Thierry Le Roy, Président et Pierre Henry, Directeur général – France terre d’asile
Malik Salemkour, Président – Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
Geneviève Jacques, Présidente et Jean-Claude Mas, Secrétaire général – la Cimade
Dominique Sopo, Président – SOS Racisme
Marc Noailly, Président et Jean-François Ploquin, Directeur général – Forum réfugiés-Cosi
Patrick Baudoin et Michel Tubiana, Présidents d’honneur – FIDH
Emmanuel Blanchard, Président – Migreurop
Translated with DeepL