The government is ratifying dictatorial laws

Author: TASZ Original title: Nyíltan diktatórikus törvényeket léptetne életbe a kormány
Publication: TASZ Date: 02/09/2015

The government is ratifying dictatorial laws

( Translator’s notice: these laws are now in effect in Hungary. See also related articles here and  here

With the deployment of the military within Hungary’s national borders, and categorising illegal border-crossing as a felony rather than a misdemeanour, the government plans to ratify a practice that has not been seen here since the fall of the Iron Curtain. For this reason, TASZ (HCLU: the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, hereinafter TASZ) calls upon all Members of Parliament (MPs), with reference to the human crisis situation generated due to the large number of refugees, not to adopt the law that bypasses basic postulates of constitutionality.

During the past few months, the large number of people fleeing from war-torn zones to Hungary has undoubtedly given rise to the greatest human rights crisis situation in Hungary in recent years. People with grave physical wounds and mental damage are arriving to Hungary, and instead of receiving any sort of aid from the Hungarian state, Hungary rather works on sending them back to Serbia as soon as possible, from where they are arriving to Hungary. For months, it is practically only volunteer civilians who have worked on alleviating their suffering, and who try – from their own pockets, and in their own “free” time – to help those in need with food, clothing, toiletries, and information. They have taken on functions that the Hungarian state should be tending to. The Hungarian state should finally fulfil its own fundamental moral and legal obligations, instead of covering up their own negligence with limitations on freedoms and deterrents to aid provision.

The bills submitted to Parliament for ratification introduce legal abridgement for which there is no constitutional base. Accordingly, e.g., in periods and locations of “states of emergency brought on by mass migration” as decreed by the government, the police can search and enter private property without a warrant, if they suspect that someone is present who has illegally crossed the border. This means that the police at any time can raid the home of a Hungarian citizen – or for all intents and purposes, anyone at all – who has offered shelter to a refugee family. The bill threatens with imprisonment those who transgress the razor-wire fence erected on Hungary’s southern border, those who deface the razor-wire fence, or who obstruct construction work. In practice, then, every refugee by definition will also be the perpetrator of a crime, who, alongside concrete punishment (imprisonment) should also be expelled from the country, even if it means splitting apart families. The military will be granted the right to use firearms not only to avert aggressive activity, but for everything related to the necessary measures for handling mass migration. Other means of enforcement suited to causing physical harm to anyone will also be fair game, so long as they do not lead to the extinguishing of human life. According to the present bill, rubber bullets, interceptor nets, pyrotechnics, and tear-gas grenades are not considered firearms, so that even the guarantee rules need not be abided. As is clear, the government, rather than working up plans to assure that sustenance, accommodation, transit, and medical care be provided, and now especially for the approaching autumn/winter period, is working rather on limiting the rights of the refugees and their aid-workers.

The crisis situation caused by mass migration cannot serve as a basis for suspending the exercise of basic rights or that those rights be limited beyond truly necessary measures and unproportionally. Only those limitations on rights can be accepted with respect to the crisis situation that lessen injury and suffering, and that serve for the fullest predominance of human rights. The first priority of the Hungarian state is not the country’s borders, but the protection of human rights.

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