Responding to a question on whether Amnesty International has been acting increasingly political, Jeney said that the group has “aligned themselves much more with the opposition.”
Jeney also revealed that there have been times when she was expected to respond to specific cases involving politicians, while the role of human rights organizations, she said, was to deal with systemic issues.
Illustrating the extent of what Jeney calls “internal politics” at Amnesty, the former director cited the NGO boycott of the 2016 migration referendum.
“Many organizations were boycotting; they said you shouldn’t go and vote. And I said, as Amnesty International, we are a human rights organization, we respect the rights of people, the free thinking and, you know, the right to be an integral person. We should not tell people what to do; instead, we should raise awareness about the issue and then they would come to the same conclusion. And they [the people at Amnesty] were like ‘no, no, no we have to do this’,” Jeney explained.
But boycotting the referendum wasn’t the only step through which Amnesty tried to influence Hungary’s domestic politics.
“Clickbait titles,” according to Jeney, “are an easy way to influence a readership that hates the government, who tends to believe anything against Viktor Orbán and often don't even read the article itself. This is a mistake that an organization outside politics cannot make.” Jeney mentioned the example of Hungary’s healthcare system which, in her view, “may be in a very bad state, but it cannot be said that it is the work of Viktor Orbán.”
In its ongoing series of leaked Skype interviews, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet has revealed how foreign journalists paint a distorted picture of Hungary in international media; exposed international NGOs’ far-reaching influence over foreign journalists; and unmasked the double standards used against Hungary on the international scene.
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, a former liberal MEP made headlines in Spain for speaking out against the double standards used in the cases of Hungary and Poland.