Europe's top human rights body debates new Hungarian laws

The Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights organization, is debating new Hungarian laws which critics say seek to limit academic rights and intimidate civic groups.

Recent amendments to the law on higher education could force Central European University, founded by billionaire George Soros, to close or leave Budapest.

Also, draft legislation being considered in Hungary would force civic groups to declare foreign funding exceeding $25,000 a year or face fines or closure.

Mogens Jensen, a Danish lawmaker who prepared the report on Hungary being debated Thursday in Strasbourg, France, says Hungary should suspend applying the university law and wait to approve the law on civic groups until experts from the council's advisory Venice Commission has a chance to assess the legislation's compatibility with the council's standards.