Hungary’s governing party Fidesz has described Amnesty International (AI) as a “pro-migrant agents organization” in a statement, accusing the human rights NGO of operating from funds of George Soros to serve pro-migrant interests, according to reports today. AI rejected the accusations in a statement sent to the BBJ.
“Amnesty International is one of those pro-migrant agents organizations that operate from the money of George Soros and serve pro-migrant forces,” Fidesz said in a press statement shortly after AI published its International Report 2016/17, which examines the state of human rights in 159 countries in 2016. The report contains multiple criticisms of Hungarian government policy with respect to refugees and asylum seekers, anti-terrorism measures, its treatment of NGOs and discrimination against Roma in Hungary.
In a statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal, AI Hungary refuted the governmentʼs words.
“Our organization operates from private donations, and the international organization’s support, as well as from other grants. George Soros is not listed among these. Additionally, before accepting a donation, we conduct an ethical screening,” the AI Hungary statement said.
The governing Fidesz has been reported to be drafting a bill that would require NGOs to register in court as an “organization financed from abroad” if a yet unstated threshold of grant funding arriving from outside of Hungary is exceeded, according to reports.
The governing party has recently launched an apparent general offensive against NGOs operating in the country. Szilárd Németh, a vice president and MP of Fidesz, named a number of NGOs that the current Hungarian government is aiming to curb.
Online news portal index.hu also quoted the Government Information Center as saying: “The pro-immigration Amnesty International does nothing but continuously incite violation of the law. They incite illegal immigrants arriving in Europe to break Hungaryʼs laws. We wonʼt tolerate this from anyone. Whoever comes to Hungary should respect our laws. The Hungarian government and government parties are doing everything they can to protect the rights of European citizens and Hungarian families.”
The strong Hungarian government reaction came following strong words from Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty, who in announcing AIʼs annual report listed U.S. President Donald Trump alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as guilty of “divisive fear-mongering.”
In a statement accompanying the annual report, Shetty said: “Whether it is Trump, Orban, Erdoğan or Duterte, more and more politicians calling themselves anti-establishment are wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.”