UN rights expert urges Hungary to stop intimidating rights defenders

[JURIST] UN human rights expert Michel Forst [official profile] on Tuesday urged [press release] the Hungarian government to "stop stigmatising and intimidating human rights defenders." Forst said that defenders of human rights have been working in "polarised and politicised environment[s]" and that there have been attempts to delegitimize the movement through criminal defamation and financial pressure. He also noted that defenders who were outspoken about the refugee crisis were particularly facing outrage from government, government officials and the media. A final report with Frost's recommendations is due in March 2017.

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. In November UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Also that month Amnesty International analyzed [JURIST report] the EU's approach to the refugee crisis and recommends changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October HRW called on [JURIST report] the EU and Western Balkans states to focus on remedying what it characterized as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the thirtieth session of the Human Rights Council in September in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. Germany announced [JURIST report] that month that it was invoking temporary border controls at the nation's southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country.

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