Hungary: Amnesty launches legal challenge to law criminalising work on migration

Amnesty International will challenge in court the constitutionality of Hungary’s controversial law that criminalises with up to one year in prison, individuals and organisations working on migration, the organisation announced today.

The law, which came into effect earlier this year, is a threat to the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Clare Algar, Europe Director at Amnesty International, said:

“The Hungarian authorities are persistently intimidating those who challenge their xenophobic policies. This law takes this intimidation campaign a step further by criminalising their legitimate work to protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

“This law is so broadly worded, it is farcical. It criminalises a wide range of activities such as the preparation, distribution or commissioning of ‘information materials’ related to migration and also makes providing legal and other support to asylum seekers illegal.

“The legitimate work of Amnesty International, other human rights organisations and civil society is under serious threat in Hungary. Such bullying tactics could indeed have a chilling effect on all organisations and hinder the important work that they do.”

The complaint, which was submitted to the Constitutional Court today on behalf of Amnesty  Hungary, argues that the deliberately vague and ambiguous wording of the legislation leaves it wide open to abuse by the Hungarian authorities and risks discouraging dissent and lawful activities.

The complaint argues that the right to freedom of assembly - including the right to establish and join organisations, and to operate organisations autonomously, all guaranteed by the Hungarian constitution and by international human rights law - is threatened by the legislation.

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