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CoE Commissioner For Human Rights Slams Hungary’s “Contemptuous, Populist” Migrant Policies

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2016.09.29.

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has said that Hungary will meet with further international criticism and threatened the country with the possibility of legal sanctions if the country refuses to give up its “defiant” stance on immigration.

Writing in an opinion piece in The New York Times, Latvian-American Nils Muižnieks also accused Hungary of putting pressure on the news media, eroding the independence of the judiciary and obstructing the work of nonprofit groups over recent years, but claimed that “Hungary’s departure from human rights norms is the most glaring”.

nils-muiznieks_1Nils Muižnieks, known as a vocal critic of the Orbán government, was formerly programme director at the Soros Foundations-Latvia, set up by liberal pro-immigration billionaire George Soros

While acknowledging the fact that nearly 400 000 migrants passed through the country in 2015, confronting Hungary with a “huge challenge” for which it received little help from the EU, the Commissioner says that this is “no excuse to throw refugee protection out of the window”. “Undermining the values of solidarity and tolerance embodied in the Council of Europe and the European Union”, branded a “contemptuous populist approach to migration” is tempting Hungary’s neighbours to follow a similar path, Mr. Muižnieks claims.

Comparing the current reufgee crisis to the exodus of 200 000 Hungarians from the country after the Soviet Union’s brutal repression of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Commissioner concludes that Hungary’s political leaders must “stop making xenophobic statements and start addressing public anxiety about migration and asylum with facts”.

photo: Béla Szandelszky/AP