IN SHORT

NGOs protest against a bill on the right to assembly

Hundreds of non-governmental organisations in Slovakia filed a joint petition with the interior ministry protesting against its draft bill on the right to assembly, calling the planned measures unconstitutional and contradicting European conventions, news wire TASR wrote.

Hundreds of non-governmental organisations in Slovakia filed a joint petition with the interior ministry protesting against its draft bill on the right to assembly, calling the planned measures unconstitutional and contradicting European conventions, news wire TASR wrote.

"The bill is so bad as to be impossible to correct, and we demand its withdrawal," said Juraj Smatana, one of the representatives of the 370 NGOs.

The NGOs are concerned that the proposed measure is aimed at hindering public scrutiny of ruling political parties, the 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 organisations working for the public benefit such as foundations.

More than 4,000 people have signed the petition. The ministry has said that it is open to constructive suggestions from NGOs at a meeting planned for mid January.

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