What Is Next for the Hungarian Helsinki Committee? | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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10 April 2018

We will continue our activities to defend human rights as long as people in desperate situations seek our help.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is as old as Hungarian democracy itself, established in 1989. Today, as we see the shrinking democratic space we are aware of the responsibility and thus would like to live up to the expectations and trust bestowed on us from people in trouble or threatened by the government. As long as these people turn to us for assistance we will continue to provide that help. We will fulfil our mission and will do our utmost to carry on with our human rights work despite government pressure. To achieve this we need the support of our civil friends and citizens.

As a result of the elections held on 8 April 2018, the political force that received the mandate to govern for another 4 years will have a supermajority in parliament. During its 8 years in power, the government had already made it very clear that it values its own interests above the rule of law and democratic values, human rights and the constitution. This governing power attacked civil society and all autonomous players of public life who raised their voice in support of the rule of law, constitutional issues and human dignity. During the election campaign they made it clear that they consider independent civil organizations and human rights defenders as enemies, and will do their utmost to marginalize, smear and eliminate them. In addition to verbal threats, the government also used legislative means. Last year the Hungarian Parliament adopted a bill stigmatizing foreign funded civil society organizations, this year the submitted proposal aims to starve and strangle organizations working on migration.

Just as a democratic society is unimaginable without civil society organisations, human rights defenders are essential for a strong civil society. The last decades have shown the importance and merit of our work. This is even more so now when an unscrupulous government has gained effectively unlimited power to change the constitution, further dismantle the rule of law and arbitrarily restrict human rights.

The winning party made it very clear that it will drastically and promptly live up to the threats it made against organizations it dislikes. We have no doubt that they will keep their ’promise’ as soon and as drastically as possible. This is nothing else but an open aggression against society.

What is at stake is not only the future of civil society organizations and their supporters, but the protection of the country’s citizens, of those in need, who receive no help other than from these organizations.

Since our foundation we have earned the trust of 27000 clients. Until hundreds of people in need turn to us for help, our work is meaningful. It is in this spirit that we have been carrying out our duties for the last three decades and this is how we intend to continue in the future as well. We can promise this with a peace of mind.

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