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Amnesty slams Hungary’s treatment of refugees



Amnesty International has slammed the government in Hungary for the alleged ill treatment of refugees on its soil and those asylum-seekers planning to enter the country.

Budapest used “fences, teargas, and draconian legislation” to dissuade refugees from entering the country, the London-based human rights organization said in a report on Tuesday.

In the report, named “Stranded Hope: Hungary’s sustained attack on the rights of refugees and migrants,” the rights group recounted the ordeals of sick and miserable refugees stranded in Hungary with no hope of a better future.

“Beatings, kicking and chasing back with dogs and unlawful returns (or ‘push backs’) to Serbia” constitute routine behavior by Hungarian law enforcement personnel toward refugees, the report said.

“Hungarian officials have made the life of an asylum-seeker unbearable and thus forcing them to seek shelter in other countries,” it said.

Amnesty criticized the firebrand Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, for outspokenly defying the globally-accepted human rights of conflict-stricken refugees forced to flee their homes to seek asylum in other countries.

“I don’t even want to envisage a Hungary that accepts migrants,” Orban had said ahead of a referendum on Sunday on whether to accept mandatory refugee quotas by the European Union (EU).

This image shows Hungarian forces standing near refugees at the Hungarian-Serbian border, September 17, 2015. (By AFP)

On October 2, Hungarians are to vote on Brussels’ quota, which requires each EU member state to settle 160,000 refugees.

“The toxic rhetoric of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling asylum-seekers ‘poison,’ has trickled down to the level of local government and often permeates the context in which police and local asylum centers operate,” Amnesty further said in its report.

Budapest has rejected the claims made in the Amnesty report as “sheer lies.”

The Hungarian government has been repeatedly criticized for its treatment of refugees. Just days ago, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights lashed out at Budapest for its mistreatment of asylum seekers.

“The images of women and young children being assaulted with tear gas and water cannons at Hungary’s border with Serbia were truly shocking,” said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein on September 18.

Hungary is a transit zone for thousands of asylum seekers from the war-ridden countries of the Middle East and Africa en route to Western Europe.

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