Hungary and that mournful fence

The hungarian government is building on Hungary-Serbia border a 4 m high and 175 km long fence in order to keep away the mounting influx of asylum-seekers, best known as “livelihood immigrants”. Hungarian institutions are running an obstinate and unfriendly policy on immigration issue. This provocative and hostile way of facing the situation reflects its pressure by changing asylum rules quite often recently. Billboards on Hungarian highways and buildings carry messages reading, “If you come to Hungary, you must respect our laws,” or “If you come to Hungary, do not take Hungarians’ jobs!” and so on. Are this slogans printed in arabic? Of course they aren’t: they’re printed in hungarian only, which cleares the meaning of what the government is expecting to achieve by hungarian locals.

Thus, immigrants, asylum seekers wich enter in hungarian territory from the Balkans, should expect to face the rejection of their requests in Hungary. The government has actually introduced a number of restrictive amendments which would expand the scope of “asylum detention”, accelerate asylum procedures so that a final decision could be taken within a few days, and limit the possibility to appeal. The regulation deprives virtually all applicants of individual assessment and fair procedure and thus puts tens of thousands at risk. As Amnesty International points out, Hunagry, definitely, dodges its obligations under national and international law to assist asylum-seekers.

 

Fact checking

Hungarian’s 175 km long border with Serbia facilitates human smuggling via land routes from the south and an enormous pressure on its reception infrastructure (financed by and large by EU funds). With 42, 000 applicants registered last year, Hungary was the recipient of the second largest amount of asylum claims per capita. So far this year the influx has already surpassed 80, 000, a number that rockets the country to the top of the EU list. And whereas in 2014 almost half of all irregular migrants came from Kosovo, around 80 per cent of this year’s migrants flee from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On May 19, Prime Minister, Victor Orban, roared his disappointment on EU’s allegedly permissive refugee policies, calling the Commission’s quota plan “idiotic and falsely”, by “depriving Hungary of the right to protect its national borders”. As a result, the European Council proclaimed the country a special case and the subsequent Justice and Home Affairs council in July accepted that Hungary – as the one and only member state – does not take part in any one of the EU’s newly established relocation and resettlement mechanisms.

A large scale public campaign, the “National Consultation on Migration and Terrorism” was launched and sent to 8 million Hungarians. Two notions, “migration” and “terrorism” arranged to create a dangerous, a hate-policy combine, supported by the idea of migrants that are grabing huangarian’s jobs. UN High Commission for Human Rights and the Council of Europe expressed grave concerns about the far right populist trend in the Hungarian immigration debate.

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Now, for truth sake, asylum seekers in Hungary, quite the 80 per cent of them, consider to leave the country once they receive an affermative response. Durin 2014, only 9 per cent of all cases were concluded by granting refugee status or subsidiary protection. (For comparison it was 35 per cent in the UK and 40 in Germany). Thus, what for is all this yelling about? Is this just some clear, and poor demagogic propaganda? Is Orban trying to gain some easy achievement using immigration emergency all across european countries?
What’s left to be said? Memory worths it all: hungarian revolution in 1956 created a wave of 200,000 immigrants who gained the respect, the solidarity and the welcome of other countries and people from all over the world. Ironic that in the country that helped bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall by removing its western barriers along the Austrian border in 1989, the idea of this outrageous fence is highly divisive and a symbol of rising worries across Europe about the country’s political future.

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