Hungarian parliament considered legislation that would criminalise providing aid to illegal migrants on Tuesday, as well as and may make such actions punishable with a prison sentence.
This proposed bill follows the election of the right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s electoral victory in 2010. The bill further states that “foreigners who sought to enter Hungary via a third country in which they were not directly exposed to persecution would not be entitled to asylum”. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has similarly proposed amending the constitutions to state that an “alien population” cannot settle in Hungary.
It has been dubbed the “Stop Soros” bill as during his April election campaign he constantly attacked the business magnate George Soros for “plotting to undermine Hungary’s Christian character by flooding it with immigrants”. Reuters notes that Mr Soros has repeatedly denied this an allegation, and adds that “While more than one million mainly Muslim migrants have entered the EU since 2015, few have sought to settle in Hungary. Official data show that in 2017 a total of 1,291 migrants obtained some form of international protection in Hungary, mostly Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis recognized as refugees”.
The bill has received criticism from the UN’s refugee agency with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees issuing a statement that says the “UNHCR is seriously concerned that these proposals, if passed, would deprive people who are forced to flee their homes of critical aid and services, and further inflame tense public discourse and rising xenophobic attitudes”.
The bill has also been subject to numerous revisions and the latest proposal excluded controversial provisions which stipulated that NGOs working on migration would be subject to national security checks and a 25% tax on foreign funding.
See more from the Guardian here.