Low voter turnout invalidates Hungary refugee referendum
Low voter turnout invalidates Hungary refugee referendum

Low voter turnout has invalidated the referendum [result] from Sunday in which Hungarian citizens voted to oppose any EU mandatory placement [EU backgrounder] of refugees. The proposed plan sought to share 160,000 asylum seekers throughout the 28-member bloc through imposition of mandatory quotas. The Hungarian government had opposed the imposition of the plan, along with other countries, and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán nonetheless expressed his support for the referendum’s results [press release] as “excellent” and praised the turnout of citizen voters.

Hungarian citizens gathered Sunday to vote on an EU referendum regarding the relocation of refugees and migrants among member states [JURIST report]. 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. Ahead of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants last month, UN experts urged [JURIST report] states to protect women and girls in the movement of refugees and migrants by adhering to international human rights conventions and standards. Last month Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that the draft of the final outcome document for the UN summit on refugees fell short of dealing with the issue effectively [JURIST report]. According to the rights groups, the UN is missing an opportunity by not proposing anything of substance. Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said [JURIST report] earlier last month that Austria will take Hungary to the International Court of Justice if Hungary does not begin accepting returning migrants that crossed into Austria from Hungary. In August the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] over Bulgaria’s criminalization of migrants leaving and entering the country.