OSCE/ODIHR hosts meeting with civil society and state institutions on situation of human rights defenders in Hungary
The protection of human rights defenders in Hungary and their work were the focus of a meeting organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Budapest on 27 and 28 November 2014. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the Budapest Document, “Towards a Genuine Partnership in a New Era”, in which OSCE participating States specifically emphasized the need to protect human rights defenders.
The meeting brought together more than 30 representatives from civil society and state institutions and provided a forum for discussion and dialogue among participants. During the meeting, participants were presented with ODIHR’s recently published Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
“Despite commitments made by OSCE participating States, human rights defenders continue to face risks and challenges across the OSCE region, including in Hungary, as a result of their work,” said Omer Fisher, Deputy Head of ODIHR’s Human Rights Department. “It is essential for Hungary to recognize the important role of human rights defenders in a democratic society and redouble its efforts to create and consolidate an enabling environment that empowers them to carry out their vital work.”
During the meeting, participants discussed a number of related concerns, such as the excessive or unnecessary regulation of foreign funding of NGOs, the stigmatization of human rights defenders and threats and attacks against those who belong to and defend the rights of marginalized groups in Hungary, including the Roma community.
The ODIHR Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders focus on concrete steps that states can take to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders and to provide them with a safe and enabling environment in which to carry out their legitimate activities.