Tag Archives: Hungary

Hungary News | Asylum-Seekers, Undocumented Migrants & Advocates

Hungary passes laws criminalizing support of asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants
  • The Hungarian parliament passed legislation criminalizing the “organization of illegal immigration,” prohibiting individuals and organizations from providing aid to undocumented immigrants including support in asylum petitioning.
  • Framed as retaliation against the pro-immigrant efforts of billionaire Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, the laws could subject those found guilty of providing support to asylum-seekers to imprisonment for up to a year.
  • The passage comes amidst a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, spearheaded by recently reelected Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Hungary passes anti-immigrant ‘Stop Soros’ laws” (The Guardian | June 2018)

Hungary to criminalise migrant helpers in crackdown” (BBC News | June 2018)

Hungary aims to criminalize aiding illegal migration in ‘Stop Soros’ bill” (Reuters | May 2018)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity


Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Hungary News | Muslims & LGBT

Hungarian city council adopts mayor’s proposal to ban Islamic and pro-LGBT expression
  • The ban encompasses the construction of mosques or other places of worship in the town of Ásotthalom that “undermine” the Catholic Church as well as forms of devotional expression including face- and hair-coverings and the call to prayer.
  • The ordinance also bans “public propaganda” depicting marriage as anything but the union of a man and a woman across all media forms.
  • The mayor of the town, site of a fence along the Hungarian-Serbian border, defended the ordinance as protection against the two “pagans” of migration and liberalism, but the Hungarian Islamic Community (MIK) was quick to denounce it as xenophobic.

Read more:
Burqas, mosques, ‘gay propaganda’ all banned in Hungarian village” (RT)
Hungarian Muslim group criticises town’s ‘xenophobic’ decree” (The Guardian)
Hungarian City Bans Mosques, Burqas And Gay Marriage” (NewNowNext)

Additional reading:
In Hungary’s migrant vote, only the turnout is in doubt” (Reuters, September 2016)

(Image Credit: Facebook, via NewNowNext)

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:


Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Hungary News | Muslims & Roma

Muslims and Roma bear brunt of anti-immigrant rhetoric in Hungary
  • Anti-immigrant sentiment fueled by xenophobic government rhetoric has led to harassment and assault of Hungary’s established minority populations, including Muslims and Roma people.
  • Politicians have drawn parallels between migrants and its own Roma population, painting the Roma minority as a situation to be “handled.”
  • While Muslims began immigrating to Hungary after World War II, the Roma have been present in the land now known as Hungary since the Middle Ages.

“I wish the government would think more carefully before starting campaigns like this. … It’s our wives who get spat on and have their veils ripped off in the street.”

Read more:
Hungary’s minorities bear brunt of anti-migrant rhetoric” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

Europe News | LGBT Refugees

European LGBT groups provide assistance to LGBT and other refugees
  • As Germany has become the destination for many refugees and migrants, the Lesbian and Gay Federation has opened a center in Berlin for LGBT refugees.
  • LGBT groups and individuals in Macedonia, Slovenia, Hungary, and elsewhere have also provided support and services to refugees passing through, including LGBT refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq.
  • Syrian gay man Subhi Nahas spoke to ISIS’s persecution of gender and sexual minorities at a U.N. Security Council meeting in August, calling on more active response to provide escape for LGBT individuals from the region.
“For my compatriots who do not conform to gender and sexual norms, the 11th hour has already passed. …They need your help now.”
Read the full story at the Washington Blade.
(Image Credit: Jure Poglajen, via The Washington Blade)

Austria & Hungary News | Migrants & Refugees

Austria announces it will check migrants’ asylum status at border with Hungary
  • Hundreds of migrants discovered on an overcrowded train from Budapest at the Austrian border will have their status checked by Austrian authorities.
  • If migrants are discovered to have applied for asylum in Hungary, they will be barred from further movement and returned to Hungary.
  • Migrants with no asylum application in progress will be given two weeks to decide whether to apply for asylum in Austria, or be returned to their last country of transit.

Read the full story at Reuters.

Hungary’s plan to erect border fence draws international condemnation
  • On Wednesday, the Eastern European country announced a proposal to build a 13-foot-high fence along its 109-mile border with Serbia to deter illegal immigration.
  • Hungary received 7% of all EU asylum applications in 2014, and its prime minister has been outspoken in his anti-immigration line.
  • On a continent with a particular sensitivity to walls due to its history, Hungary’s proposal has caused suspicion of the government’s running afoul of its international obligations and isolating prospective EU member Serbia.

“We have only just torn down walls in Europe; we should not be putting them up.”

More on this story at The New York Times.

(Image Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters, via The New York Times)


Hungarian PM dismisses multicultural society as something from which Hungary must be spared.
  • Viktor Orban denounces “mass-scale” intermingling of different faiths.
  • He has been outspoken in his opposition to the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migration crisis.

“Multiculturalism means the coexistence of Islam, Asian religions and Christianity. We will do everything to spare Hungary from that.”

More on this story at Reuters.

The Week’s Rounds

Israel nixes bus segregation plans, the U.K. takes strong stance against undocumented immigrant labor, Russian bill looks to criminalize abortion procedures, a British Muslim woman takes on ISIS through poetry, Ireland celebrates passing of same-sex marriage referendum, and 35 other stories in this week’s news rounds… Continue reading The Week’s Rounds