Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

UNHCR/Béla Szandelszky
Asylum seekers rest in their room in the Debrecen Reception Centre, Hungary. (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Hungarian legislation that criminalizes anyone who supports asylum seekers and other vulnerable individuals is “blatantly xenophobic”, “shameful” and “disgraceful”, the UN human rights chief said on Thursday.

Commenting on the Hungarian Parliament’s decision to vote in Government proposals on Wednesday, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described it as “an attack on fundamental human rights and freedoms”, as it “makes illegal the act of helping those who may be in dire need”.

The new legislation could enter into force by the beginning of July, soon after a European Union Heads of State summit, in which discussions on finding solutions to migration pressures on the 28-Member bloc are expected to feature prominently.

This Sunday, the European Commission President is convening an “informal working meeting” of government ministers, according to reports, on migration and asylum, aimed at finding solutions to growing concerns over the issue across the continent.

Under the Hungarian legislation, it will be possible to jail “any lawyer, adviser, volunteer or legally resident family member” who helps vulnerable foreigners and to ban organizations that do the same, the High Commissioner noted in a statement.

He added that the authorities also announced this week that they would introduce a 25 per cent tax on funding for non-governmental organizations which “support immigration”.

While stressing that there was no question that Hungary’s border management was its own responsibility, Zeid said that the new law nonetheless “strikes at the heart of the European Union’s values of pluralism, tolerance and solidarity”.

The development “continues and deepens the Hungarian Government’s assault on civic space”, Zeid contended, saying that it threatened those “who work on behalf of the most vulnerable, and in defence of our highest human rights values”.

According to UN refugee agency, UNHCR, since January, Hungary has effectively closed its borders to almost all people wishing to seek international protection.

On average, only two asylum seekers per day are allowed to enter the country through the two “transit zones” at the border with Serbia, it said in a recent statement.

Any asylum seeker who attempts to cross the razor-wire border fence “is automatically removed”.

Prior to the new Hungarian legislation becoming law, UNHCR called on the Hungarian Government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban to withdraw its proposals.

“Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right, it is not a crime,” Pascale Moreau, Director of UNHCR’s Europe Bureau, said at the time of the UNHCR appeal.

She added that there was particular concern that the Government “is targeting those who, in a purely humanitarian role, help people who are seeking asylum”, before urging the authorities “to halt any measures that would further increase the vulnerability of people who are simply looking for a safe haven”.

UNHCR estimates that among the millions of stateless people worldwide, around 570,000 now live in Europe.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

MEPs propose measures to combat mobbing and sexual harassment

The EU Parliament endorses tax on financial transactions

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

Mental Health Policy, a significant driver for growth

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

Where are the charities in the great Artificial Intelligence debate?

Who is culpable in the EU for Ukraine’s defection to Russia?

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

Trade wars won’t fix globalization. Here’s why

EU to Telcos: Stop Mergers and Acquisitions but please help me urgently with 5G development

Greece did it again

EU Commission: Growth first then fiscal consolidation

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

Palestinian Bedouin community faces demolition after Israeli court ruling, warns UN rights office

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Egypt urged to free prominent couple jailed arbitrarily since last June: UN rights office

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

An Easter Special: Social protection of migrants in Europe as seen through the eyes of European youth

Social Committee teaches Van Rompuy a lesson

It’s Time to Disrupt Europe, Digital First

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

Commission facilitates the activities of ‘merchants of labour’

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

France sneaks into the Geneva US-Iran talks to claim its business share in Tehran

More answers from Facebook ahead of Parliament hearing today

Entrepreneur India Convention 2016: Bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Startups and SMEs

How Greece was destroyed

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

Is there a way out of the next financial crisis? Can more printed money or austerity save us all?

UN chemical weapons watchdog adds new powers to assign blame, following attacks

Cyber defence: MEPs call for better European cooperation

New skills agenda for Europe needs real investment

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK paper on EU citizens in the UK

The EU banking union needs a third pillar guaranteeing deposits

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

EU to pay a dear price if the next crisis catches Eurozone stagnant and deflationary; dire statistics from Eurostat

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

EU Commission accuses Germany of obstructing growth and the banking union

What can stop the ‘too big to fail’ bankers from terrorising the world?

COP21 Paris agreement: a non legally-binding climate pact won’t stop effectively global warming while EU’s Cañete throws hardest part to next Commission

Europe moulds global defense and security chart given US new inward vision

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Ideology is the enemy of growth

German opposition win in Lower Saxony felt all over Europe

Catalan Pro-Independence vote: how many hits can Brussels sustain at the same time?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s