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Marta Pardavi

Márta Pardavi

HRD, Co-Chair
Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Márta Pardavi is a human rights defender and co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a leading human rights organisation based in Budapest, founded in 1989. A lawyer by training, Márta Pardavi leads the organisation's work in the field of refugee protection. The HHC focuses on protecting the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees, stateless persons and other foreigners in need of international protection, as well as on monitoring the human rights performance of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.

Márta Pardavi is an outspoken critic of the recent restrictive NGO legislation passed in Hungary in June 2017, which is reminiscent of ‘foreign agent’ laws in Russia and Israel. The law targets NGOs which receive more than 24,000 USD in foreign donations and who fail to register with the authorities within 15 days as a “foreign funded organisation" and advertise this fact on their websites and on all publications they produce.

Márta Pardavi has extensively commented on the issue of the shrinking space for civil society in international media publications. She also serves on the board of PILnet Hungary Foundation and Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Before joining the HHC, she was a member of the board, and later vice-chair, of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles in 2003-2011.

Recent developments of Hungary's state policy towards independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has been a cause for concern. NGOs have been labelled as agents of “foreign influence”, accused of being politically motivated, and have seen their offices raided by police.