Restrictions on NGOs involved in migration ‘problematic’, says CoE human rights commissioner
Planned legislation dubbed “Stop Soros” which would introduce restrictions on NGOs involved with migrants is “problematic”, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks said on Saturday.
The package of laws would impose arbitrary restrictions on NGOs, especially those working with migrants, Muiznieks told public news channel M1. He said this was problematic primarily because
the government’s migration policy foments intolerance and xenophobia in the public and the law would discourage NGOs from helping migrants.
Muiznieks said he did not consider it illegal to cross a border and seek protection, and instead of using the expression illegal migration he preferred uncontrolled migration.
The key issue regarding migration is whether people have the right to individually submit requests, get them assessed in a credible way and receive asylum or protected status if it is justified, Muiznieks said.
Every country has the right to protect its borders but every member of the CoE has signed the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which states that every request must be separately assessed and migrants must not be locked up, especially not if they are children and they are seeking help. In most cases, such people had been subjected to traumas and they must not be handled as criminals, he added.
The problem is that the Hungarian government handles every arrival as illegal, as if they were not in genuine need of help and as if they represented a threat to national security, Muiznieks said.
Yet, most of the people are escaping from terror or from a conflict and they are asking for help. Hungary must assess every case independently and only if someone is not in genuine need of protection, they can be sent back to their home country or to another safe country, he added.
Referring to US billionaire George Soros, he said a philanthropic person is being demonised in Hungary, which is rather disturbing and has an anti-Semitic touch. Soros has never done anything illegal, only helped people and NGOs throughout Europe, he added.