Democracy & Justice

Hungarian Constitutional Court Abandons NGOs in Stop Soros Decision

In a ruling against a complaint submitted by Amnesty International Hungary, the Hungarian Constitutional Court has declared that Stop Soros is not unconstitutional. HCLU agrees with Amnesty that this decision means the court has abandoned civil society.

by Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

Stop Soros is so vague that virtually anyone could break the law at any time

In October 2018 Amnesty Hungary submitted a constitutional complaint against the so-called Stop Soros legislation, which criminalised the support of illegal immigration in Hungary. Amnesty maintains that the legal reform provides a vague definition of the crime, which could apply to virtually anyone at any time, creating space for an unpredictable and arbitrary implementation of the act.

HCLU also considers the legislative package unacceptable. It is of the opinion that registered Hungarian civil society organisations do not carry out or support illegal activities but work in accordance with Hungarian and the international laws on refugees. As for acting against illegal activities, Hungarian law already provided for this before the Stop Soros legislation was passed. HCLU thinks that, rather than threatening them with criminal prosecution, organisations and activists offering legal help to asylum seekers or ensuring that the state respects the rights and dignity of vulnerable people deserve recognition.

The only purpose of the law is to threaten those who help vulnerable people

"We are deeply concerned about this decision of the Constitutional Court in a case that in our view is clearly absurd and unconstitutional. Stop Soros is a vague piece of legislation that defies legal definition. It has no other purpose than to threaten prison time to anyone who helps vulnerable people or disagrees with the unlawful asylum policy of the government," said Dávid Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, when commenting on the court's decision.

HCLU shares Amnesty's position and expresses its solidarity with organisations affected by Stop Soros, claiming the legislative package is just the next step in the government's war against refugees, civil society activists and the rule of law in general.