Hungary NGOs ask govt to drop anti-migrant bill


PARIS: Hungarian civic groups are asking the government to drop a draft bill seeking to criminalize their work with asylum-seekers and refugees.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International said Monday that the bill “criminalizes humanitarian and legal assistance,” threatening them with prison terms of up to a year.
Helsinki Committee co-chair Marta Pardavi told reporters that the bill, whose debate is scheduled to start Tuesday in parliament, “has no place in a civilized country, in the EU, in a state under the rule of law.”
The bill is part of right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s campaign to prevent Hungary from “becoming an immigrant country.” Orban maintains that Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and the civic groups he supports seek large-scale immigration of Muslims into Europe, charges they deny.
French police have evacuated around 500 migrants – mostly Afghans but some Africans – from a makeshift tent encampment in central Paris.
In the Monday dawn operation, buses will take them to lodgings in the Paris region where they can pursue asylum requests.
James Okafor, who fled Nigeria after being attacked, said he “will be very happy to leave” because it will help him meet officials who will decide if he can stay in France.
Others were apprehensive, since most of the migrants don’t speak French or English.
Two migrants drowned last month nearby and fights at camps have led to injuries, increasing the pressure on officials to close them.
In three years, police have evacuated 28,000 migrants from Paris camps.