NGOs have stood up against Kotleba and others’ attacks

Organisations also analysed which political parties are NGO-friendly.

ĽSNS chair Marian Kotleba (centre). ĽSNS chair Marian Kotleba (centre). (Source: SITA)

Non-governmental organisations in Slovakia admit they are concerned about the attacks that some politicians have raised against them ahead of the 2020 elections.

“[…] We are the only party that rejects an influence of malignant, anti-Slovak, anti-Christian NGOs on the administration of Slovakia […]” the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) leader Marián Kotleba said in a debate on the private channel TV JOJ on February 20.

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The Chamber of Non-Governmental Organisations, which is a part of the Government Council for Non-Governmental Organisations, said such statements depreciate the work of people working in this sector. Kotleba is not the only politician to hold such opinions, the NGOs warned.

“Let’s not allow irresponsible and foul-minded politicians, in their desire to gain cheap popularity, to demagogically humiliate the people who help our country and make it a better place for life,” the Chamber wrote in its protest call.

Six demands

In response to attacks against NGOs, organisations put together six demands in the hope of protecting civil society. There are about 60,000 registered NGOs in Slovakia.

NGOs, first of all, called on political parties to distance themselves from hateful statements, similar to the one coming from Kotleba, and asked the media to react to disinformation targeted at non-governmental organisations.

Read alsoNon-governmental and non-profit organisations will get a new register Read more 

The Chamber added presenting those working for NGOs as people who are trying to subvert Slovak society using foreign money is purely fictional. Moreover, NGOs do not agree with the claim that it is the fault of NGOs and their projects that there is a lack of public funds.

Smer and SNS against NGOs

In addition, the Voice of Civic Organisations (Hlas občianskych organizácií) has carried out an analysis of 34 proposals, which have impacted the existence and funding of civic organisations in Slovakia. The platform, which was established in late 2019, groups 34 organisations.

“Civil society and its functioning were very marginal among MPs over the course of the last four years,” Katarína Batková of the platform claimed.

The platform said Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Sme Rodina were the parties that supported draft laws, which could have impacted civil society positively, the most. One such law involved the register of NGOs.

Conversely, the analysis showed that Smer and the Slovak National Party (SNS) voted for draft laws that could have affected civil society negatively the most often. One such bill, which was not approved in the end, was to label NGOs funded from abroad as foreign agents.

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Za Ľudí with the most NGO-friendly manifesto

The Voice of Civic Organisations also evaluated the manifestos of the political parties which appear in the polls and maintain at least 3-percent support.

“The recent period in our country was also specific because some political parties have questioned civil society and interpreted misinformation as facts,” Ivana Kohutková of the platform said.

Za Ľudí with 83.25 points came first in the assessment, followed by PS/Spolu with 73.25 points and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with 72.75 points. Other parties obtained less than 50 points.

The platform looked into nine areas of the parties’ manifestos, including the non-destruction of NGOs, funding of NGOs, democratic character of the state and the like.

Smer was the only party to not obtain any points as its manifesto did not deal with any of the nine areas.

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