Amnesty slams Hungary’s migrant ‘abuse’
AMNESTY International yesterday denounced Hungary’s right-wing government for “deliberately” mistreating asylum seekers and whipping up anti-migrant fears ahead of a national vote on the EU’s troubled refugee relocation plan.
“Against the backdrop of a toxic referendum campaign, poisonous anti-refugee rhetoric is reaching fever pitch,” Amnesty said in a report.
Hundreds of migrants and refugees have suffered physical abuse, illegal border pushbacks and unlawful detention at the hands of authorities in recent months, Amnesty said.
The study is based on research conducted in Serbia, Hungary and Austria – three key countries along the Balkan migrant trail – and includes interviews with 129 migrants.
People stuck in so-called “transit zones” on the Hungarian-Serbian border told Amnesty they had been “beaten, kicked and chased by dogs” before Hungarian guards forcefully pushed them back into Serbia.
The group said the “appalling treatment” of migrants and the denial of asylum procedures were a “deliberate populist ploy” to deter refugees from entering the country.
“The toxic rhetoric of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has trickled down to the level of local government and often permeates the context in which police and local asylum centres operate,” Amnesty said.
Amnesty said Mr Orban had replaced “the rule of law with the rule of fear” to encourage voters to reject the EU proposal in the October 2 vote. The referendum will ask Hungarians whether they support the EU’s plan to relocate migrants among the bloc’s 28 member states without the approval of parliament.
Hungary has not taken in a single migrant under the scheme, which Mr Orban sees as an attack on national sovereignty. –
A Hungarian police officer stands guard in front of a gate at the closed M5 highway to block migrants at the HungarianSerbian border near Roszke station after the Hungarian government established a new border protection law.