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Cardin Concerned by Restrictive NGO Legislation in Hungary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the passage of a law in the Hungarian parliament to restrict NGOs who receive foreign funding:

“I am concerned by news last week that the Hungarian parliament adopted a ‘foreign agents’ law which will stigmatize and impede the work of civil society organizations in Hungary, and I hope that this legislation will not be signed into law.  While the stated justification for the bill is to ensure transparency regarding funding from abroad, the impact is likely to undermine specific organizations working to address corruption and other social and governance challenges in Hungary.  Against the backdrop of an April law that was hastily passed to curb academic freedom by targeting the operations of specific foreign universities, this NGO law appears to be the next step in a broader effort to restrict fundamental human rights in Hungary. A vibrant civil society free from undue government interference is essential for any healthy democracy.”