The 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
28 February to 1 April 2022
Statement of Meezaan Center for Human Rights
GD item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
23 March 2022
By Yasmine Darwish
Thank you, President,
We commend the report of the Working Group and thank Hungary for participating in the Universal Periodic Review. Nevertheless, we would like to address the issue of migration, one of the most serious challenges Hungary is currently facing.
While we welcome all the measures taken by the asylum authority to develop and improve the reception conditions for asylum seekers, we remain concerned about Hungary's procedure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has deprived asylum seekers of the right to access fair and efficient asylum procedures and has exposed them to the risk of direct or indirect refoulement.
Furthermore, in 2018, Hungary's government introduced legislation, known as the "Stop Soros" laws, that would make it a criminal offense for individuals or organizations to help migrants and refugees apply for asylum. This came after the creation of a razor wire barrier on its border with Serbia and Croatia in 2015 where over 1 million people, most fleeing conflict in Syria, entered the EU. This legislation infringed EU law, and Hungary has failed to fulfill its EU obligations.
Finally, Meezaan and Geneva International Centre for Justice are deeply concerned by the introduction of a 25% tax imposed on financial support for any activity supporting or promoting immigration to Hungary. In early 2018, the Ministry withdrew all tenders under the Fund. Several NGOs that had previously received funding for projects providing humanitarian or integration support to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees no longer receive any funds.
Therefore, we call on the Hungarian government to ratify the Global Compact on Migration and remove or suspend restrictions that prevent or impede access to the national asylum system. Take additional measures to ensure that all citizens, including migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, the elderly, children, and marginalized women, receive adequate services for health, education, and other basic needs.
And to review national legislation on migration and refugees to ensure that it is consistent with international law norms and standards, avoids approaches that focus solely on border security, and ensures full respect for the principle of non-refoulement.