UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Thursday condemned [press release] the Hungarian Parliament for passing legislation that criminalizes residents helping asylum-seekers, refugees and undocumented immigrants.
The new legislation criminalizes numerous activities, “including distributing information on migration-related matters, providing advice to migrants and refugees, and conducting human rights monitoring at borders.” The authorities will be able to arrest, charge and immediately remove any lawyer, adviser, volunteer, or legal resident who provides any humanitarian assistance to an asylum seeker or refugee.
Zeid stated that the decision is “blatantly xenophobic” and an attack on fundamental human rights in Hungary.
“This legislation threatens the safety and human rights of migrants and refugees, as well as the vital work of NGOs and human rights defenders providing protection and assistance to them. It makes illegal the act of helping those who may be in dire need. To target those dealing with the most vulnerable, simply because they are foreigners, is truly disgraceful.”
Under the legislation individuals face up to one-year in prison and organizations could be banned. Further, Hungarian authorities announced that they will introduce a 25 percent tax on funding for NGOs which support immigration.