NGOs slam Hungarian government over ‘resettlement quota’ referendum

It anyone would poll pedestrians about the quality of a restaurant, they could ask “Do you like this place, where they charge far too much for drinks?”, or they might ask “How do you like this restaurant?”. When you have an agenda, especially one which might incite more hatred against refugees, you might ask the following question in a referendum: “Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary even without the approval of the National Assembly?”.

Hungarian intellectuals and avid newspaper readers know exactly what this is about. Hungarians with less education might not know, and they will answer that question the way Victor Orbán and his radical friends want them to answer it. Also, there is a general issue with direct democracy connected to big decisions, as we have seen in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, recently.

By asking that biased, scandalous question in his referendum scheduled for October 2nd, 2016, Orbán, who does not want to “change the ethnic composition of Hungary”, and who would have been celebrated for that by certain dictatorships some 75 years ago, will probably manage to get the answer he wants, and use it in his fight against refugees and liberal approaches in the refugee crisis.

Twenty-two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Hungary have now blasted the scheduled referendum and the question in a joint statement. It says “We, Hungarian NGOs and citizens with a sense of responsibility, believe in a country where our common matters are managed with humaneness, solidarity and mutual respect.” The NGOs are also saying they rejected “the hate campaign surrounding the vote”. The question put to a vote was “inhuman”, the NGOs say. “The goal of the referendum and the accompanying campaign is to incite hatred against refugees.”

With their campaign, those 22 NGOs are trying to invalidate the Hungarian referendum and “prove our country is based on humaneness and solidarity.”



The Sofia Globe staff

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