2017. december 19., kedd

Pécs, Debrecen CSOs denounce government inspired harassment

During the past days, municipal leaders in Kaposvár, Miskolc and Pécs publicly condemned civil society organizations (CSOs) in their cities, only because these, while operating in a transparent manner, use foreign sources to finance their activities benefiting the local community and people.
The Pécs city council went so far as to ask local citizens in an official resolution to ban an organization, the ’With the power of humanity’ Foundation from their premises. As a consequence, the owner of the foundation’s future office cancelled the earlier rent agreement. The foundation also received dozens of messages from persons unknown both online and via telephone calling them traitors, and threatening them with violence after it became public that they would implement the Regional Community Centre program with support from the Open Society Foundations. In Debrecen, even a protest page on Facebook was launched with more than 2800 followers. At an official press conference the city leadership stated that on the 18th of December they are thinking about passing a resolution similar to the one in Pécs.

(Members of 'With the power of humanity' Foundation, showing the sign that they found a new office, a roof over their head)

András Nyirati, chairman of the ’With the power of humanity’ Foundation stated in various media that „the foundation does not engage in politics, and is not linked to any party or political organization. Therefore it is not only erroneous, but seriously misleading to call the foundation or its premises „Soros office”, „immigration organizing office” or „campaign centre”, etc., or to allege that it is under the influence of any person or organization. The ’With the power of humanity’ Foundation is an independent, autonomous organization, which does not interfere with local or
regional policymaking.”
Richárd Damu of the Association of Alternative Communities, the organization implementing the Regional Community Centre program in the northeast, said: „our association serves as an umbrella of informal, self-organizing groups aiming to work on specific issues. Through the cooperation with the Open Society Foundations we aim at helping the CSOs of the region by providing a community space and small grants to them.”

The Open Society Foundation initiated the Regional Community Centre program as an instrument of decentralization, with the goal to help local people solve local problems. The above two organizations were selected in a tendering process to coordinate the programs in southwest and northeast Hungary with an annual budget of 500,000 USD each.

The ’With the power of humanity’ Foundation has implemented human rights education programs since 2006. Besides, the staff of the foundation has been supporting children living in poverty by helping them with their lessons and organizing freetime activities for 7 years.
The Association of Alternative Communities has been organizing groups of primarily young people for almost 20 years. During this time they operated a community radio, organized events and help homeless people with food and donations, among others.