Hungary lawmakers approve emergency laws to address migration crisis

Hungary lawmakers approve emergency laws to address migration crisis

[JURIST] The Hungarian National Assembly [official website] on Friday passed a number of emergency measures [Bill 1; Bill 2, in Hungarian] to address the recent mass migration into Europe. The bill declares a state of emergency in Hungary and establishes strict punishments, including jail time, for immigrants that violate its provisions. The new provision sets out criminal punishment for attempting to cross or damage the newly constructed razor wire fence at the border of Hungary and Serbia, and individuals caught climbing over the 110-mile fence may receive up to a three-year prison sentence [AFP report]. The UN refugee agency [official website] estimates that more than 2,000 refugees [UN report] are crossing into Hungary each day. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban [BBC profile] has maintained his position throughout the migration crisis that Hungary must protect the borders of Europe and prevent threats to European culture [The Independent report].

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from Syria, Afghanistan and other conflict nations. Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the global community to develop comprehensive solutions to allow for safe and legal migration [JURIST report] after more than 70 bodies, believed to be Syrian asylum seekers, were discovered in a truck near the Austria-Hungary border. Also that day, Ban issued a statement [official document] on the recent increase in refugee and migrant tragedies in the Mediterranean and Europe. Also in August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants urged [JURIST report] the EU to create a new human-rights-minded migration policy to empower migrants and solve the issue of human smuggling in the Euro-zone. In early August the International Organization for Migration (IOM) [official website] reported that more than 2,000 migrants have died this year [JURIST report] in an attempt to enter Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. The British and French governments warned in a joint article [JURIST report] that the world is facing a “global migration crisis.” The two government officials stressed that countries must make dealing with the increasing number of migrants a top priority.