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George Soros, Viktor Orban, Wikipedia

Venice Commission guns for Orban’s new law to ‘Stop Soros’

The Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional law, called for the repeal of Hungary's "Stop Soros" legislation, as its provisions "unfairly" criminalising freedom of organisation and association.

Published: June 23, 2018, 8:33 am

    Parliament in Hungary on Wednesday passed a package of laws that criminalises foreign aid to illegal migrants, making it virtually impossible for migrants to settle in the Central European nation.

    The “Stop Soros” legislation was passed as part of a package of laws referred to collectively as the 7th constitutional amendment, punishing individuals or groups providing aid to migrants with possible imprisonment.

    The Orban government said the measures were necessary in order to defend Hungary from the ongoing invasion funded by the likes of George Soros.

    According to the Venice Commission’s official opinion this legislation “goes far beyond” the “legitimate aim of preventing disorder or crime”.

    Criminalising such activities disrupts assistance to victims by NGOs, disproportionally restricting their rights as guaranteed under Article 11, and under international law, the commission argued.

    Last week, the Venice Commission specifically asked the Orban government to refrain from voting on the package until its opinion could be published on the matter, a request which Fidesz pointedly ignored.

    Significantly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), the European Parliamentary grouping that Fidesz belongs to, also urged Orban to hold back. As a result, observers are now speculating that the EPP might expel Orban’s party from its grouping in response.

    Orban meanwhile, has warned that the EU’s hostile reaction to the anti-establishment surge shows that “the spirit of Marx, Lenin, and the re-education camps” is alive in Brussels.

    In his address at the unveiling of a monument commemorating victims of the Soviet occupation of Hungary, the Fidesz leader reminded his audience of “the continent-sized prison world of the Gulag: the lowest circles of Hell, where the rate of mortality sometimes reached 80 per cent – due to frost, hunger, ten, twelve or fourteen hours of hard physical labour every day, overcrowding, the lack of medical care and the brutality of guards”.

    He said many leaders in Western Europe still praised Communism “even after millions had perished under the heel of red dictatorships” and added that “to this day, the European Left continues to see Communism and its crimes in a peculiar, blurred light”.

    Orban pointed out: “We know that there is no such thing as a communist regime with a human face: the true face of communism is the Gulag.”

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