The Hungarian government passed the anti-immigrant “Stop Soros” law package that criminalizes assistance to migrants and refugees on 20 June, on the International Refugee Day.
The new law:
- criminalizes any “organizational activities” to assist asylum seekers—already in Hungary or at Hungary’s border—to exercise their legal rights to submit an asylum procedure or to obtain a residence permit;
- provides that such offenses may be committed by a person directly assisting an individual migrant, but also by preparing or distributing informational materials or by creating or operating a network to carry out these activities;
- criminalizes a person who organizes border monitoring;
- criminalizes anyone who provides financial means for the above activities, and
- imposes a 25 percent tax on groups that “support immigration,” defining this to include legal activities such as promoting positive aspects of migration.
The “Stop Soros” package was accepted in spite of long-standing harsh criticism by Hungarian and international civil society organisations and several rights bodies, such as the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A few days ago, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe called on the Hungarian Parliament to take into account the Commission’s recommendations.
UNITED strongly condemns the adoption of the “Stop Soros” laws as it contravenes European law and highly restricts Hungarian NGOs to carry out their work in aiding migrants seeking refuge. The law package also imposes great financial threat on NGOs which contributes to the systematic crackdown on civil society by the Hungarian government.