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The IBAHRI submits letter to the President of Hungary regarding the independence of the judiciary and rights of asylum seekers

In June 2018, the Hungarian Parliament passed the Seventh Amendment of the Fundamental Law of 2011 alongside other legislative amendments that impact the rights of asylum seekers. The International Bar Association has written to the President of Hungary, Dr János Áder, to urge him to block or reverse any legislation that undermines fundamental principles regarding the independence of the judiciary and the role of human rights defenders assisting protected groups.

Under the Seventh Amendment of the Fundamental Law of 2011, the Administrative High Court will be established, of which half the judges will consist of former civil servants without judicial experience. The president of the new Court will be elected by Parliament and have the power to pass down binding interpretative guidance onto lower administrative courts. Convergence of the Executive into the judiciary is a direct threat to the principle of separation of powers and judicial independence, which is protected under Article XXVIII of the Fundamental Law of Hungary.

The IBAHRI has also received reports about newly adopted legislation that would render ‘organisational activities’, including financial assistance, relating to support for asylum seekers criminal. The rights of asylum seekers and refugees are protected under a number of international and regional conventions, by which Hungary is obliged to abide. Any domestic legislative changes pertaining to these groups must be in accordance with such obligations.