Hungary: Jail time proposed for NGO’s aiding illegals
Legislation was submitted to the Hungarian parliament this week to ensure that illegal undocumented migrants will no longer be assisted by NGOs. Prime Minister Viktor Orban called the bill the "Stop Soros" initiative.
Published: June 1, 2018, 10:32 am
Earlier proposed legislation suggested levying a 25 percent tax on foreign contributions to NGOs, but the bill was later scrapped.
The latest addition to the “Stop Soros” package includes punishment of up to a year in prison for individuals or organisations that help migrants submit requests for asylum when they are not entitled to protection.
According to Euractiv those who help such illegals to gain residency in Hungary face jail time under legislation submitted to parliament on Tuesday.
An amendment to the constitution was proposed so no “alien population” may be settled in Hungary, rejecting European Union imposed quotas of migrants.
The new bill targets foreigners who sought to enter Hungary via a third country in which they were not directly exposed to persecution, which legally rules out asylum.
The text of the legislation on parliament’s website, states: “Those who provide financial means … or conduct this organisational activity (for illegal immigration) on a regular basis will be punishable with up to one year in prison.”
Many NGO and advocacy groups now complain they are the direct targets of this legislation. They claim that their work is “legal” and promote “democratic values”.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, said the bill would bring back “an era of fear, unheard of since the fall of communist dictatorship”. The draft legislation was also condemned by the UN refugee agency.
The UNHCR, in a statement from Geneva, called on Hungary to scrap the draft law, saying it would deprive asylum-seekers of “vital services” and encourage “rising xenophobic attitudes”.
While millions of mainly Muslim migrants have entered the EU since 2015, very few have sought to settle in Hungary. Official data show that in 2017 only a total of 1 291 migrants obtained some form of international protection in Hungary, mostly Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis.
Recent protests against the Hungarian president are driven by the same NGOs, as these are typically involved in subversive activities to install migrant-friendly regimes. Orban has likened the Soros-funded NGO’s to “the [Ottoman] sultan with his army, the Habsburg kaiser with his raiders and the Soviets with their comrades”.
On Tuesday, Soros attacked Orban in a speech at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, saying that Orban’s “Christian Europe is challenging the values on which the European Union was founded”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Washington this week to pressure Hungary to keep NGOs because they “underscore the importance of maintaining a vibrant civil society” according to a State Department spokesperson.
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