Tompai tranzitzóna
Transit zone of Tompa Photo: Rebecca Harms/Flickr

Less than 30 immigrants have been given refugee status during the first six months of this year, according to Magyar Hang (news agency). The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has recently published data about the number of asylum seekers. 10 immigrants were recognised as refugees, 14 received subsidiary protection, and 4 were admitted. However, the full number of asylum seekers exceeded 250. 

The difference between the number of applications and acceptances is because of Hungarian laws. Due to the “Stop Soros!” package of laws, all immigrants who cross the borders of safe countries (where they could expect proper protection) before arriving in Hungary are rejected. Serbia is among these countries, so all the applications are rejected at the first stage because the transit zone is on the Hungarian-Serbian borderline. If the person concerned appeals to the court, the legal asylum procedure has to be conducted. The majority of the 28 immigrants who received refugee status this year were not from the transit zones – those who are there have not received asylum from the Hungarian authorities yet – based on the report of Zoltán Somogyvári (an associate of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee). 

Élet a tranzitban
Life at the transit zone
Photo: Rebecca Harms/Flickr

Felipe Gonzales Morales – a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants – visited Hungary in July. Based on his conclusions,

“The politicisation of the issue of migration in Hungary has scapegoated migrants.”  

Refugees are depicted as dangerous enemies in front of society. In the meantime, he only saw desperate, vulnerable, and traumatised people held behind a barbed-wire fence. The Hungarian government introduced the “migration crisis” in 2015 and has extended it several times – the actual due date of it is 7th September 2019 – and it is still expected to do so again. According to Morales, the state of crisis is not reasonable anymore, so it is high time to end it. While the applications are judged (60 days), applicants are not allowed to leave the transit zone, and they are escorted by guards inside the zone wherever they go. Even children have to wait in these “prison circumstances,” concluded Morales.

Child in the transit zone
Photo: Rebecca Harms/Flickr

A response from Tamás Menczer – the State Secretary for Communication and the International Representation of Hungary (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – came quickly. According to the state secretary,

“Morales only judges us because we see migration as a safety hazard. He judges us because we talk about the migration crisis, although this is the reality.”

He states that there are at least 30-35 million people living in Europe’s South and South-East neighbouring area, who are ready to move towards Europe anytime they decide to do so. The barrier on the border will remain to maintain the safety of Hungarian citizens, concluded Menczer. 


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