On 2 October, Hungarian citizens will vote in a referendum on the following question: “Do you want the EU to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the National Assembly?” The government has spent over 10 million euros of public money on a xenophobic campaign to divert public opinion offering scare-mongering and distorted facts about immigration and refugees.
The campaign includes a booklet which has been sent to over 4 million Hungarians, which allegedly explains why people should vote ‘No’ at the referendum, stating that the country needs to send a strong signal to Brussels and that only Hungarians should decide who can live in Hungary.
ECRE member Hungarian Helsinki Committee, together with 21 other civil society organisations, issued a joint statement regarding the referendum. “The referendum campaign is inhuman. The goal of the referendum and the accompanying campaign is to incite hatred towards refugees. Its only outcome will be that the already extremely fragile solidarity in society will be further weakened and this will boost the government to carry on with the hate campaign,” state the organisations. “The real question on the 2nd of October is whether this country will ever be able to become an inclusive community.”
In a separate development, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is calling for the building of a second border fence to better protect the country and the Hungarian police is now recruiting 3,000 ‘Border Hunters’: civilians who will receive a 6-months training and who will later be deployed at the border to detect refugees crossing the border.
For further information:
- The Guardian, Expel Hungary from EU for hostility to refugees, says Luxembourg, 13 September 2016
- ECRE, Hungary: Latest amendments legalise extrajudicial push-back of asylum-seekers, 7 July 2016
- ECRE, Worsening conditions for refugees in Hungary, 17 June 2016
- ECRE, Hungary to resume transfers of asylum seekers under Dublin regulation to Greece in overall climate of human rights repression, 13 May 2016