CIVICUS

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Netherlands

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Last updated on 13.02.2019 at 09:54

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Netherlands prepares new draft bill on disclosure of donations for civil society organisations

Netherlands prepares new draft bill on disclosure of donations for civil society organisations

On 21st December 2018, the Minister for Legal Protection published the draft bill on the Civil Society Organisations Transparency Act.

Association

On 21st December 2018, the Minister for Legal Protection published the draft bill on the Civil Society Organisations Transparency Act. The bill proposes that CSOs must disclose all donations of 15.000€ or more per year, including the date on which the donation was received and the donor’s name and place of residence. 

The government argues that the bill is needed to "increase the transparency of cash flows to civil society organisations and to prevent the financing of civil society organisations from being associated with undesirable influence and the abuse of democratic freedoms".

The bill is currently open for public consultation until 22nd February 2019. Civil society organisations fear that the disclosure requirements will decrease donations. 

Association in Netherlands

Freedom of association is guaranteed by law and respected in practice. Everyone has the right to freely form and join an organisation. However, this right may be subject to restrictions in the interest of public order.

Association

Freedom of association is guaranteed by law and respected in practice. Everyone has the right to freely form and join an organisation, however this right may be subject to restrictions in the interest of public order. Civil society organisations are easy to set up, while registration and reporting requirements depend on the type of organisation that is formed. Importantly, it is not mandatory for an informal association to be registered. Formal associations with full legal capacity are established by notarial deed and required to register in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Regulations and practices allow civil society organisations to exercise self-governance without interference in their internal structures, operating procedures and activities. They also have the freedom to seek, receive and use financial resources, including from foreign sources, and join other associations and federations, whether national or international.

Peaceful Assembly in Netherlands

The right to assembly and demonstration is enshrined in the Constitution and may only be limited to the extent necessary to prevent public disorder, for traffic reasons or to protect health.

The right to assembly and demonstration is enshrined in the constitution and may only be limited to the extent necessary to prevent public disorder, for traffic reasons or to protect health. The Law on Public Demonstrations provides that the right to assembly is regulated by local bylaws adopted by local governments. Notification requirements for public assemblies vary from town to town. Mayors have the power to impose restrictions and prohibit a demonstration. They may also ban an assembly for non-compliance with the notification requirements. Reports indicate that simultaneous opposition assemblies are facilitated but often on condition that they are staged out of sight and sound of one another. Civil society also reports that restrictions placed on assemblies are sometimes not communicated early enough to allow organisers to apply for a judicial review of the decision before the date of the assembly. Delayed communication from the authorities can also impede the early dissemination of information about the event. Civil society has also documented the use of force, detentions and kettling by the police. Freedom to monitor and report on public assemblies is guaranteed to the media.


Expression in Netherlands

The right to freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution and may only be restricted in the case of expression of hatred on the basis of race, religion, personal convictions or sexual orientation.

The right to freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution and may only be restricted in the case of expression of hatred on the basis of race, religion, personal convictions or sexual orientation. Provisions penalising blasphemy were abolished in 2013 but insulting the monarchy remains a criminal offence. Within those legal limits, which apply also to online expression, everyone has the right to voice their opinions and to freely receive and give out information through any media. Media are free, independent and pluralistic. Reported cases of press censorship are rare. However, there are indications that journalists experience some degree of self-censorship on sensitive topics, in particular when religion and immigration are concerned. Incidents of violence, threats and intimidation against journalists are rare. The Internet is widely available and access is unrestricted.