Hungary to criminalise giving help to migrants

The government of Hungary is set to introduce a controversial law that could criminalise the provision of humanitarian assistance to migrants in the country.

If passed in its current form, the legislation – known as the “Stop Soros Act”- could criminalise such simple gestures as printing informational leaflets for asylum seekers, offering them food, or giving them legal advice, the BBC reports.

Orban’s government frequently uses the Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros as a scapegoat, blaming him for Muslim immigration to Europe, a position that has been criticised as having echoes of anti-Semitism.

The draft bill was debated on 5 June in the Hungarian parliament, which Orban’s party controls by a two-thirds majority, is part of a wider crackdown on migration by the Prime Minister and his allies.

Voting on the new law will take place this week, and given Orban’s strong support in parliament, it is likely that the “Stop Soros Act” will pass.

Hungary is among the countries that has opposed EU plans to relocate more than 160, 000 Syrian and Eritrean migrants, who are currently living in overcrowded camps in Italy and Spain.

According to Al Jazeera, Orban’s government is considering potential changes to the constitution to prevent EU nations from relocating migrants to Hungary.

TRT World reports that leading human rights organisations, including The Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International, are asking the government to drop the new law because it criminalises humanitarian and legal assistance.

Marta Pardavi of The Helsinki Committee stated that the bill “has no place in a civilised country, in the EU, in a state under the rule of law.”

The draft bill proposes a potential prison term of up to one year for people caught assisting migrants.

TMP – 11/06/2018