Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government to stop its anti-George Soros propaganda campaign, and to have open debate on xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the indispensable role of independent civil society. Annan also said he hopes Hungary will “find a way out of its current isolation and back to the values enshrined in the UN refugee convention and UN charter for human rights.”
I am deeply concerned by the recent anti-immigration poster campaign launched in Hungary. Rather than addressing migration’s very real challenges, the campaign plays on xenophobic sentiments and direct personal attacks against the founder of the Open Society Foundations, George Soros.
I urge Prime Minister Orban and the Hungarian Government to listen to the numerous Hungarian citizens voicing concerns with its latest campaign and the many anti-Semitic slurs that have appeared following the display of the posters. Beyond stopping the campaign, it is essential to have an open debate on xenophobia, anti-Semitism and above all on the indispensable role of independent civil society organisations in a democratic State.
Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were welcomed as immigrants after the 1956 revolution. In 1956 as today, Hungary and Hungarians are part of the European family and the international community and will, I hope, find a way out of its current isolation and back to the values enshrined in the UN refugee convention and UN charter for human rights.
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Geneva