‘Unacceptable and illegal’: humanists condemn human rights violations committed against refugees and migrants in Hungary

21 September, 2016

Photo: woodleywonderworks / Flickr

The British Humanist Association (BHA), in a joint statement with the European Humanist Federation (EHF), has spoken out against how refugees and migrants attempting to enter Hungary from neighbouring countries have been treated by Hungarian authorities as part of the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In September 2015, a razor wire fence was constructed in order to keep migrants and refugees from entering Hungary, capping admissions into so-called ‘transit zones’ at 15 per day, leaving hundreds of asylum seekers stranded without adequate shelter, shower facilities, or food. The BHA and EHF are particularly concerned about a recently adopted law that allows Hungarian border officials to summarily return asylum seekers to the country they are entering from, a move that concerned the High Commissioner for Human Rights as such a policy may result in the police not respecting the human rights of migrants, and expelling migrants and refugees by force without due legal process violates international law. Prime Minister Orbán has, so far, not made any statements suggesting the law will be reviewed, but recently has said that Hungary will build a new ‘more massive’ fence on its southern border to defence against a possible surge in the number of migrants. The EHF and BHA also highlighted reports of dog attacks and beatings by the police directed towards asylum seekers crossing the border.

The statement ended with the EHF and BHA reminding the Hungarian delegation that its response is ‘both unacceptable and illegal’, imploring Hungary to implement a proper asylum application process, and ensure that border control police are not complicit in human rights abuses. They also called on the international community to live up to its obligations under the 1951 Convention and Protocol relating to the status of refugees, which mandates an equitable refugee acceptance scheme be adopted, and urged all states to provide all necessary assistance to Hungary such that they can better cope with the refugee crisis.

The EHF has long called for the European Commission to sanction Hungary for failing to uphold the principles of the Treaty of the European Union, namely the rule of law, non-discrimination and protection of minorities with almost no resistance from European institutions.


For further comment or information, contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Director of Public Affairs and Policy at pavan@humanists.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Read the full statement: https://humanists.uk/wp-content/uploads/UN-HRC33-Hungary-UPR-.pdf

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethically and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.