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NGOs protest against Right to Assembly Law

Hundreds of non-governmental organizations in Slovakia filed a joint petition with the Interior Ministry on January 3 protesting its proposal on the right to assembly. The groups called the planned measures unconstitutional and contrary to European conventions.

Hundreds of non-governmental organizations in Slovakia filed a joint petition with the Interior Ministry on January 3 protesting its proposal on the right to assembly. The groups called the planned measures unconstitutional and contrary to European conventions.

"The bill is irreparably flawed, and we demand its withdrawal," said Juraj Smatana, one of the representatives of the 370 NGOs.

The NGOs are concerned that the proposed measure will hinder public scrutiny of the ruling political parties, state administration and local governments. Marcel Zajac of the Centre for Philanthropy fears that the bill, which limits the legal options of assembly, will adversely affect organizations working in the public interest, such as foundations.

More than 4,000 people have signed the petition. A ministry spokesman has said it is open to constructive suggestions from NGOs at a meeting it plans to hold next week. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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