Hungary defends anti-immigration stance at UN rights body

The Hungarian government is firmly opposed to immigration. (Reuters pic)

GENEVA: Hungary defended its anti-immigration stance on Monday at the United Nations, saying it was determined to maintain a homogeneous Christian society.

The UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights, composed of independent experts, began a two-day review of Hungary’s record, less than three weeks before a parliamentary election.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a rally last Thursday that voters must fight “external forces and international powers” who wanted to foist mass immigration on their country.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told the panel, “First and foremost, it is a firm conviction of the government that the Hungarian people have the right to live a life in security, without fear of terrorist atrocities.”

In 2015, Hungary had a “sad experience” when some 400,000 migrants passed through on their way to Western Europe, “ignoring all rules”, he said.

Hungary responded with a border fence and rejection of European Union proposals to settle migrants in member states under a quota system. Most of the migrants were Muslims fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

“The Hungarian government has not admitted illegal migrants and will not admit them in future,” Szijjártó said.

“We Hungarians have lived the past 1,000 years in a Christian society, in an integrated, homogenous society; that is what we consider invaluable, and we continue to insist on this.”

He said non-governmental organizations that lobby for more tolerance of immigration were not elected and did not represent the Hungarian people.