Refugee Crisis

RWI Signs Letter Condemning Proposal in Hungary to Restrict Civil Society Organisations


Members of the academic community from around the world have expressed their concern with a bill the Hungarian Parliament is set to vote on that would limit the activities of organizations involved with refugee and migration issues. RWI Director Morten Kjaerum and Research Director Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen fully endorse the Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s letter expressing discontent with the proposed bill. The letter currently includes signatures from 77 academics from 28 countries around the world.

The letter states:

The new legislation will allow the government to simply ban the activities of organizations assisting refugees and migrants in a fast and arbitrary process. Activities such as legal aid to asylum-seekers, reporting to the UN or the EU, holding university lectures about refugee law or recruiting volunteers will be rendered illegal, if these are performed by civil society actors who dare to criticise government practices. Practices, which are equally condemned by the EU and the international community.

The measure, also referred to as the “Stop Soros” bill, would target NGOs such as George Soros’s Open Society’s Foundations (OSF), which promotes democracy and human rights initiatives in Hungary. OSF announced earlier today it would move its operations in Budapest to Berlin in response to the bill proposal.

Click here to read the full letter, list of signatures and more about the pending legislation.