UN urges Hungary to review anti-Soros bills
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UN urges Hungary to review anti-Soros bills

Rights office calls draft laws targeting groups backed by Jewish billionaire ‘an unjustified restriction’ on freedom of association

This poster featuring US billionaire George Soros in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, was part of a government campaign, July 6, 2017. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)
This poster featuring US billionaire George Soros in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, was part of a government campaign, July 6, 2017. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

GENEVA — The United Nations urged Hungary on Friday to “review” newly proposed legislation that targets civil society groups funded by the Jewish billionaire George Soros, which offer services to migrants.

The draft laws proposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party are the latest moves aimed at advancing the government’s anti-immigration agenda.

As in the original version of the law drafted last month, a tax of 25 percent would be levied on foreign funding given to organizations considered to be “supporting” illegal immigration.

The new draft also retains provisions banning entry to Hungary for foreigners suspected of supporting the entry of asylum seekers.

“The proposed legislation represents an unjustified restriction on the right to freedom of association and is a worrying continuation of the Government’s assault on human rights and civic space,” the UN rights office said in a statement.

“We call on the Hungarian Government to review these proposed laws to ensure that freedom of association is fully guaranteed,” it added.

Many of the organizations that would be affected if the bill becomes law receive funding from Soros’s Open Society Initiative.

Hungarian Pime Minister Viktor Orban gives a joint press conference in Budapest on July 4, 2017 during a summit of the Visegrad group countries and Egypt. (AFP Photo/Attila Kisbenedek)

Orban has been accusing the 87-year-old Soros of orchestrating immigration into Europe.

Orban has made clear that he wants to significantly curb the number of immigrants entering Hungary.

UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville noted that foreign funding was especially important for organizations doing work considered contrary to the agenda of the ruling party.

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