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Expression of Solidarity with the Hungarian civil sector

We express our solidarity with the NGO sector in Hungary. Sign the petition till September 19th!

We, the representatives of European civil society organizations consider a well-developed civil society to be an essential part of healthy and stable democracies. As active and responsible citizens, we proudly share the common values, political culture and legal norms of the European Union and its allies.

We therefore feel obliged to respond to the events of the last few days, which are taking place under the guise of a democratic political and legally legitimate struggle in Hungary, a fellow member of the European and Transatlantic political alliances.

We are highly concerned that, since its re-election in April 2014, Viktor Orbán’s government is undertaking a campaign that compromises the credibility and threatens the independence of Hungarian civil society organizations.

On Monday, September 8, a new line was crossed,when police officers and investigators raidedtheoffices of Ökotárs and DemNetFoundations as well as apartments of Foundations’ staff in search of documents and files connected with their statutory operation. Bothfoundations have outstanding reputation in the Central and Eastern Europe NGO sector for their expertise, experience, high standards and good practice. These were the qualities which qualified them to be selected for the operators of the EEA Civic Fund in Hungary whose majordonorisNorwegian government. The fact that this Fund is administered outside the directcontrol ofthe Orbán’s governmentsupporting organizations that monitor rule of law, human rights violations and discriminatory action is at the core of the case, whichin recent dayshas grownintoan unprecedenteddemonstration of force.

Both foundations in Hungary are managing the EEA NGO Fund whose major donor is Norway. The fact that this fund is administered outside the direct control of the Orbán government, and supports independent civil society organizations and human rights defenders, is at the core of the case, which in recent days has grown into an unprecedented demonstration of force.

The harassment of Hungarian civil society organizations by Orban’s government in the attempt to superimpose full state control over their activity is a direct violation of basic freedoms and tenants of European Union. It is unacceptable that such a conduct – modelled on the mistreatment of NGO sector in autocratic regimes of Belarus, Russia and Azerbajdzan be tolerated in the heart of the European Union.

We, the undersigned representatives of NGOs in Europe, express our solidarity with the independent NGO sector in Hungary.
We express our desire for cooperation within international structures, where there is unquestioned place for free, independent and critical thinking.
We call for remembrance of the recent historical experience of societies in Central and Eastern Europe. We express our commitment to refuse dictatorial politics, and we denounce this manifestation of authoritarian power in Hungary.

Sign the petition here>>