Hungary says that it welcomed more than 540,000 refugees. However, human rights groups claim that the government misleads the public since most people do not stay in the country. They mostly go further west to reunite with family members and relatives. Only a fraction of them settles down in Hungary.
According to The Guardian, Hungary has a far-right government that inflates “the number of Ukrainian refugees it is sheltering as it seeks to secure European funds to finance their welfare.”
The government argues that Hungary welcomed the highest number of refugees taking the country’s population of 9.6 million into account. Zoltán Kovács, the government’s international spokesperson, shared a figure that amounted to between five and six refugees for every 100 Hungarian inhabitants.
“However, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights NGO dedicated to helping refugees,
called the statistics “misleading” and said most of those arriving subsequently travelled on to other countries.
The number of refugees in Hungary was much lower than the official figures” – The Guardian wrote. Furthermore, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee argued that the Hungarian Government did not provide adequate information for those who wish to remain in Hungary. For example, Poland and Slovakia provided online forms to apply for protection.
Not surprisingly, only 7,749 people had applied for temporary protected status in Hungary until the 27th of March. This status is required to get social welfare support, including housing, the right to work and access to education in the country. This number clearly shows that most of the refugees just passed through Hungary.
“In its quest for additional funds from the EU, the Hungarian Government uses the most impressive number it can find”
– Márta Pardavi, the Helsinki committee’s co-chair, said.
International government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said that he did not know how many refugees the country was currently hosting. “Many of them have biometric passports, which means they have visa-free movement within the European Union,” he said. “We can only have a relationship with those who apply for refugee status or asylum.” In addition to those seeking protected status,
another 80,000 had applied for 30-day temporary residency permits,
Kovács told The Guardian.
A recent statement the British paper quotes said that Hungary had provided 5.4m euros (£4.6m) in humanitarian aid within the framework of the Hungary Helps programme. Furthermore, they earmarked €8.1m to support six charities. Moreover, 758 Ukrainian children have been enrolled in Hungarian schools, and individual tutoring is being provided to help with integration. Meanwhile,
in the Czech Republic, 240,000 refugees have already registered for Czech state health insurance.
Therefore, Prague is seeking European funding to help deal with the crisis.
According to MTI, in total 5,728 people crossed the Hungarian border directly from Ukraine on Thursday, while another 4,620 Ukrainian refugees came from Romania,
the national police headquarters said. Police issued temporary residence permits valid for thirty days to 1,599 people, the police website wrote on Friday. Holders of such permits must contact a local immigration office near their place of residence within thirty days to apply for permanent documents, it added.
Budapest police received 1,717 refugees, out of which 808 were children, by train, according to the municipal police website. Refugees arriving on special train services at Kőbánya Felső Railway Station, in Eastern Budapest, were taken by bus to the BOK Sports and Events Centre which serves as a humanitarian transit point.
The authorities transported 96 people, including 56 children, to accommodation in the capital and outlying areas.
Source: MTI, The Guardian