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Press briefing note on Hungary

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location:  Geneva
Date: 19 June 2015
Subject: Hungary

Hungary

We are deeply concerned about the announcement made this week by the Government of Hungary that it is preparing to erect a four-metre-high fence to seal its 175-kilometre border with Serbia. If adopted, this measure may prevent asylum seekers, who may be in need of international protection, from accessing Hungarian territory. Such harsh border enforcement measures may also force migrants to adopt more risky routes and modes of transport, putting them at greater risk of abuse by traffickers and smugglers. We have noted in the past the need for European governments to display leadership and compassion in their migration policies.

We reiterate our concerns at the anti-migrant xenophobic rhetoric that is being disseminated by the Hungarian Government, most recently through an anti-migration billboard campaign. One of the Government’s posters reads: “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take away Hungarians' jobs.” Such assertions contradict the evidence, which is that migrants – particularly low-skilled migrants - are needed in European labour markets, doing the difficult jobs that no one else wants to do. On 22 May, we publicly criticized a questionnaire on immigration sent by the Government to its citizens in which unfounded links were sought to be made between migration and terrorism.

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org).

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