It would be a bulldozer, not a bill | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság

09 February 2018

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee shared its position with the Hungarian Government regarding the so-called “Stop Soros” draft bill. According to the human rights NGO the regulation under preparation is unacceptable and only serves constitutionally indefensible political objectives, includes pointless regulations, and as such the organization categorically rejects it. On the same note the Helsinki Committee expects the Government to withdraw the bill.

Excerpts from our letter sent to the Hungarian Government:

[…] In light of the published text and statements made by the Government our position is that the regulation under preparation is unacceptable and only serves constitutionally indefensible political objectives, includes pointless regulations, and as such we categorically reject it.

Since any technical "corrections" made to the draft would only result in a more efficient fulfilment of the Government’s eventually harmful intentions, i.e. what is bad would only become worse; we see no reason why the amendment of the draft could be a reasonable option.

In a state governed by the rule of law, the fundamental aim of the legislative procedure is to serve the common good and to further good governance. Neither of these can be achieved when laws are made in defiance of society. In the present case the legislative purpose is clearly to serve the Government’s tyranny. Thus if the planned “rules” enter into force, in practice they can only operate against the elemental interests of society.

[…] The manipulative language of the draft bill does, step by step, reveal its true purpose. The Government wants to arbitrarily label, malign and separate from society certain NGOs it dislikes and, eventually, to force them cease their operations.

The draft furthermore denies society’s right to several fundamental rights such as the freedom of opinion and the equal enjoyment of the freedom of association. The State by choosing, on the basis of unacceptable conditions, to determine which NGOs may obtain a public benefit status, eventually also targets those citizens who deem NGOs of public benefit worthy of their support or wish to use their services. To make it clear: we are talking about thousands of NGOs and hundreds of thousands of people.

Since the intention, content and legislative solution of the draft bill fall below the elemental standards of a constitutional democracy, we are of the opinion that the only possibility is the immediate withdrawal of the entire Bill. This is what we expect from the Government of Hungary.

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