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Hungary

    June 20, 2018
    New briefing published today

    Following the passing in Hungary of a package of punitive laws, including one criminalizing lawful migration-related work by activists and NGOs, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “It is a bitter irony that as the world marks World Refugee Day, the Hungarian Parliament voted today to introduce a law that targets organizations and individuals who support asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants.

    "Criminalizing essential and legitimate human rights work is a brazen attack on people seeking safe haven from persecution and those who carry out admirable work to help them. It is a new low point in an intensifying crackdown on civil society and it is something we will resist every step of the way.

    “We will push back against the rising tide of institutional intolerance towards refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and the attempts to stigmatize, intimidate and frighten Hungarian civil society organisations.   

    June 01, 2018

    Leaders of the European People’s Party (EPP) must urgently respond to Hungary’s draconian assault on human rights during their crucial meetings in Warsaw and Munich next week, Amnesty International said.

    The EPP meetings coincide with a debate in the Hungarian Parliament on controversial new anti-migration laws targeting NGOs and human rights activists.

    “This is a moment of reckoning for Europe’s largest political group, which cannot stand idly by as one of its members, the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz, introduces laws which criminalize the legitimate and vital work of civil society and lawyers in the country,” said Iverna McGowan, Head of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

    “If passed, the laws proposed by the Hungarian government would flout the most fundamental principles of EU law on human rights, not to mention the EPP’s own stated values.’’

    A package of punitive laws tabled in the Hungarian Parliament this week aims to criminalize legitimate migration-related work by activists and NGOs.

    May 29, 2018

    Responding to a package of punitive laws tabled in Parliament today that will criminalize migration-related work by activists and NGOs, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “In their desperate drive to make Hungary the most hostile territory for asylum seekers and refugees in Europe, the Hungarian government has taken their attempt to enshrine intolerance, xenophobia and racism in law to a new level.

    “This cruel plan to hermetically seal their borders would criminalize legitimate activities such as offering information and providing legal advice to asylum-seekers. This could result in paralysis for organizations and leave already vulnerable people in an ever more precarious situation.

    “MPs should to do the right thing and vote down this brazen attack on activists, on NGOs, and on those seeking safe haven from persecution.”

     

    For more information please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    April 09, 2018

    In the wake of the apparent victory of President Orban's party, Fidesz, in Hungary’s general election, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “Whilst the climate may be hostile, we are steadfast in our resolve. We will resist the rollback of human rights in Hungary for, and with, all the people and groups who fight for everybody’s rights and freedoms.

    “We will continue to push back against attempts to stoke hostility towards refugees and migrants and will continue to speak up for groups that support and defend them. We will not be cowed by those who attempt to muzzle Hungary’s critical voices and to create an atmosphere of fear.

    “The legitimate work of organisations defending rights in Hungary is more vital now than it has ever been, and we are more committed than ever in our resolve to stand with them.”

     

    To arrange an interview on the ground contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    March 14, 2018

    Responding to the conviction of Ahmed H, a Syrian man prosecuted for committing an alleged “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian police at the Serbia-Hungary border in September 2016, Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Counter-Terrorism in Europe, said:

    “Today’s verdict reflects the dangerous confluence of Hungary’s draconian counter-terrorism laws and its merciless crackdown on refugees and migrants. Ahmed’s conviction on these charges should be quashed on appeal and he should be released without delay.”

    “Ahmed H, who was simply trying to help his family flee Syria, has been unjustly demonized both inside and outside the courtroom. None of the evidence against Ahmed constitutes “an act of terror” and his conviction is a blatant misuse of terrorism-related provisions.

    “After more than two-and-a-half years behind bars, this absurd decision comes as a devastating blow for Ahmed, his wife and his two young daughters.”

    Ahmed H was convicted for “complicity in an act of terror” and “illegal entry as part of a mass riot” and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and expulsion from Hungary for 10 years.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    July 13, 2017
      In response to the news that the European Commission is to begin infringement proceedings to hold Hungary to account for its law stigmatising non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving funding from abroad, Iverna McGowan, Director of the Amnesty International, European Institutions Office said:   “Hungary’s NGO law was designed to stigmatize and vilify NGOs. Today’s action from the European Commission sends a strong signal that such onslaughts against civil society are not acceptable in the European Union.” “Amnesty International will not comply with the law unless compelled to do so by a court. It is in flagrant violation of EU law and the fundamental right to freedom of association. Hungary must drop the law before it causes further damage to civil society and the valuable services they provide to Hungarian society.”   The deadline for “foreign funded” NGOs registration was 12 July 2017. Amnesty International Hungary’s membership has decided not to comply with the registration requirement; instead the organization is submitting a constitutional appeal.
    June 15, 2017

    Ahead of the appeal against a 10-year sentence handed down to a Syrian man for committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., was convicted in November. Ahmed admitted to throwing three objects at the Hungarian police during the clashes.

    “The conviction of Ahmed H was a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions against a man who was helping his family flee Syria,” said Todor Gardos, Amnesty International’s Hungary researcher.

    “This absurd verdict reflects the febrile atmosphere in Hungary where anti-terror powers have been ramped up amid a crackdown on the rights of migrants. Ahmed’s actions cannot credibly constitute an act of terrorism and his conviction should bequashed.”

    Follow Amnesty International’s researchers@todorgardos and @demeteraaronfor updates.

    June 13, 2017

    The passing of a law stigmatising non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding is the latest in an escalating crackdown on critical voices and will hamper critically important work by civil society groups, said Amnesty international.

    The Law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad will force NGOs receiving more than 24,000 EUR direct or indirect funding from abroad to re-register as “civic organization funded from abroad” and to put this pejorative label on every publication.

    “Threadbare attempts to disguise this law as being necessary to protect national security cannot hide its real purpose: to stigmatize, discredit and intimidate critical NGOs and hamper their vital work,” said said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

    “This latest assault on civil society is aimed at silencing critical voices within the country, has ominous echoes of Russian’s draconian ‘foreign agents’ law, and is a dark day for Hungary.”

    March 07, 2017

    Responding to the Hungarian Parliament’s adoption of a set of amendments allowing for the automatic detention of all asylum seekers while their applications are processed, Gauri Van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

    “Plans to automatically detain some of the world’s most vulnerable people in shipping containers behind razor wire fences, sometimes for months on end, are beyond the pale. This new border detention package is just the latest in Hungary’s aggressive crackdown on refugees and migrants.”

    “These measures will even be applied to children, a flagrant violation of international and European law. It will also enable refugees to be forcibly returned to Serbia without due process. We are urging the EU to step up and show Hungary that such illegal and deeply inhumane measures have consequences. Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn't a refugee policy - it’s avoiding one.”

    Background

    November 30, 2016

    In response to the sentencing of Ahmed H, to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges for his involvement in clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director who attended the court hearing said: 

    “This verdict is based on a blatant misuse of anti-terror laws and reflects a disturbing confluence of two dangerous trends: the misuse of terrorism related offenses and the appalling treatment of refugees and migrants.”

    “A father, who was trying to help his elderly Syrian parents reach safety now faces 10 years in prison. Throwing stones and entering a country irregularly does not constitute terrorism and cannot justify this draconian ruling. Ahmed H’s terrorism verdict should be quashed on appeal."

    ++++++++++

    For more media inquiries, contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations

    613-744-7667 ext 236 // jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    October 27, 2016
             Spokespeople at the court and available for interview

    Ahead of the expected verdict in the trial of a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., could face a life sentence if found guilty. His elderly parents were convicted previously of unlawful entry and mass rioting, in relation to the same incident at the Röszke border crossing in September 2015.

     

    “This trial is symptomatic of the Hungarian government’s vilification of people seeking protection in Europe,” said Kartik Raj, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner.

    September 27, 2016

     Released  00.01 27 September 2016 CET

    Denial of effective access to asylum & degrading treatment Anti-refugee rhetoric reaching “fever pitch” ahead of referendum Prime minister Orbán throws down dangerous gauntlet to the EU

    Thousands of asylum-seekers – including unaccompanied children – are suffering violent abuse, illegal push backs and unlawful detention at the hands of Hungary’s authorities and a system blatantly designed to deter them, Amnesty International has revealed in a new report.

    Stranded hope: Hungary’s sustained attack on the rights of refugees and migrants, published against the backdrop of the toxic referendum campaign on refugee quotas, finds hundreds of asylum-seekers are left waiting for months in degrading conditions. Many of those who manage to get into Hungary are pushed back to Serbia or detained unlawfully in detention centres.

     

    September 23, 2016

    As the trial begins today of Ahmed H., a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards on the Serb-Hungarian border last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews. Amnesty International’s Balkans researcher, Todor Gordos said today:

    “The use of anti-terror powers to target an asylum seeker involved in clashes on the border is an absurd and chilling demonstration of Hungary’s sledgehammer response to the refugee crisis.”

    “I witnessed the alleged “mass attack” by migrants at the Roszke border and what we documented were chaotic and desperate scenes, sporadic acts of violence and the excessive use of force by police and border guards.”

    ·         Spokespeople on the ground and available for interview

    *************

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    May 10, 2016

    On 26 April, the Hungarian government tabled a package of measures, including a “sixth amendment” to the Constitution (Magyarország Alaptörvénye, the Fundamental Law of Hungary) and to laws governing the police, national security services and defence forces, to streamline the process to call a state of emergency in the country. The package of measures, which would grant the Executive overly broad counter-terrorism powers with wide scope for restricting human rights, are under debate in the Hungarian Parliament this week.

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