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Hungary

    October 07, 2015

    Released  00:01 BST Thursday 8 September 2015

    The Hungarian government has invested more than 1OO million euros on razor-wire fencing and border controls to keep refugees and migrants out, triple the amount it spends yearly on receiving asylum seekers, Amnesty International revealed in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, Fenced Out, outlines how Hungary’s draconian measures to control its borders have repeatedly violated international law. As EU ministers gather in Luxembourg today for high-level meetings to discuss the crisis, Amnesty International is calling on the EU to hold Hungary to account for its human rights failures and to protect people on the move by creating safer, legal routes before winter hits.

    “Hungary is a few razor-wire coils away from completely sealing off its borders with Croatia and Serbia. Even those that do manage to squeeze through the key-hole are almost certain to be returned to Balkan countries of transit,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    September 21, 2015

    By Eliza Goroya in Kos, Greece and Khairunissa Dhala and Lorna Hayes in Berlin, Germany.

     

    From Greece to Germany, volunteers are joining forces to help newly-arrived refugees and migrants get food, clothes and medical attention - plugging glaring gaps in the EU’s broken asylum system while Europe’s leaders still grapple for a common solution to the growing crisis.

    “There was this Syrian family: a father with a small girl. She tried to open the door of my car. I thought she must be after the food, so I asked her father what they need. ‘You have the same car as us,’ he responded, ‘but ours exploded back in Syria. Her mother died in it.’

    “And then I understood what the little girl was looking for."

    Konstantinos, a volunteer, looks away as he shares this story with me. Locals on the Greek island of Kos call him 'The Hardcore One', because he juggles two jobs with daily deliveries of food, supplies and support for refugees.

     

    September 18, 2015

    New satellite images obtained by Amnesty International give a chilling new perspective on Hungary's frenzied efforts to repel refugees and asylum-seekers this week.

    The organization said they serve as a warning to Croatia, Slovenia and other countries currently considering closing their borders to thousands of people seeking protection.

    “The shocking scenes from the ground this week at the Horgoš-Röszke border crossing have shown the human toll of Hungary's irresponsible actions. These images give a deeper sense of the speed and scale of Hungary’s operation to seal its borders, which culminated in a dire situation for refugees and asylum-seekers left in limbo,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.

    One pair of images from 13 and 15 September starkly illustrate how sealing the border crossing near Horgoš in Serbia and Röszke in Hungary on 15 September quickly resulted in a bottleneck of trapped people seeking entry to Hungary and the European Union.

    September 16, 2015

    At least nine people including at least four children separated from their families by Hungarian police during the breach of a border fence in Röszke must be immediately released and reunited with their families, said Amnesty International today. Their exact whereabouts is unknown but they are thought to have been taken to a nearby border control building.

    September 15, 2015

    By effectively closing its border to refugees and meeting those fleeing conflict and persecution with razor wire, troops and draconian new laws, Hungary is showing the ugly face of Europe’s shambolic response to the growing refugee crisis, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization has deployed a team of researchers to the Hungary-Serbia border where dozens of soldiers, riot police, dogs and helicopters are patrolling a newly completed razor wire fence. Under new laws which come into force today refugees who attempt to break through could be jailed for up to three years.

    “For refugees fleeing from terrifying conflict zones to be met by such an intimidating show of militarised force is shocking, and a woefully irresponsible response to people already traumatized by war and brutality,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe. “While thousands more are expected to make their way to Hungary, this ‘raise the drawbridge’ mentality will simply redirect, but not put an end to, desperate and dangerous journeys.”

    September 11, 2015

    The shocking images of scores of refugees and asylum-seekers being thrown food by Hungarian police at a registration centre in Roszke underscores the deplorable conditions facing those being held by the Hungarian authorities, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization is calling for human rights monitors to be granted immediate access to all centres and facilities housing refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants who have recently arrived in Hungary.

    “The image of refugees and asylum-seekers clamouring for food as the police throw parcels of food is truly sickening,” said Barbora Cernusakova, a researcher for Amnesty International.

    “Human rights monitors must be given immediate access to registration centres, and every effort must be made to improve the conditions in which refugees and asylum-seekers are held.”

    Amnesty International staff were refused access to the registration centre in Roszke, Hungary which is featured in the youtube video (see below) which gained global media attention today.

    September 08, 2015

    By Barbora Cernušáková, Hungary Researcher at Amnesty International, Bicske, Hungary. Follow Barbora on Twietter @BCernusakova.

    His brother just looked at him. The Pakistani man in his fifties lay lifeless beside a train track a few hundred metres from Bicske train station. It is unclear how he died, but he was trying to find a better life in Europe.

    Both men were part of a larger group running away from a train that had been halted since yesterday in the Hungarian train station. Many other refugees and migrants are still refusing to leave the train because they don’t want to go to Hungarian reception centres.

     

    "This week, at the main Keleti station in Budapest and in Bicske, I witnessed a new low in the cruelty of the treatment of refugees in Hungary".

    - Barbora Cernuscova, Hungary Researcher at Amnesty International

    After being barred from boarding trains for days, yesterday morning, the police at Keleti suddenly lifted the barriers.

    September 06, 2015

    Hungary should urgently provide refugees and migrants crossing the border from Serbia more humane reception conditions, transport and clarity about where they are being sent, Amnesty International said. With more people bound to arrive, the situation could escalate further.

    “While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,” said Amnesty International researcher Barbora Cernusakova.

    “While Europe has failed abysmally to respond, Hungary has a duty to ensure decent conditions for people who arrive. Its hostile approach doesn’t keep people out, it simply prolongs and adds to their ordeal.”

    July 30, 2015

    A looming change in Hungary’s Asylum Law could put tens of thousands of asylum-seekers fleeing war and persecution at risk as the country continues to flout its obligations amid Europe’s burgeoning refugee crisis, Amnesty International said. 

    The amendment, which enters into force on 1 August, may lead to a situation in which any asylum-seeker who enters the country via its Balkan neighbours will be rejected and deported back. The Hungarian authorities are also constructing a four-metre-high fence along 175 km of the border with Serbia to prevent refugees and migrants from crossing.

    Amnesty International is calling on Hungarian Parliamentarians to submit the legislation for review by the Constitutional Court.

    “This is a thinly veiled attempt by Hungary to dodge its obligations under national and international law to assist asylum-seekers who have a globally recognized right to claim international protection,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    February 02, 2015

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel must call upon the Hungarian authorities to stop their unprecedented crackdown on NGOs said Amnesty International today as it published a new report coinciding with her visit to the country this week.

    Their backs to the wall: civil society under pressure in Hungary details the orchestrated attack on NGOs by the Hungarian authorities over the past year. It has included public smearing, criminal investigations, office raids and the seizure of equipment, and a politically motivated audit which could eventually lead to the closure of organizations.

    “The Hungarian authorities’ ongoing assault on NGOs has all the hallmarks of a witch-hunt. EU leaders should be extremely alarmed that practices coined in Russia are gaining currency in an EU member state. Angela Merkel must not miss the opportunity to challenge these practices this week,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    August 06, 2013

    The Hungarian authorities must do more to protect minority groups from hate crimes, Amnesty International urged today after four people were found guilty over the racially motivated murders of six Roma in 2008 and 2009.

    A Budapest court today handed life sentences to three of the convicted quartet, all known for supporting a far-right ideology, over a spate of attacks between March 2008 and August 2009 in the northeast of the country. The fourth man received 13 years in prison for collusion.

    However, research by Amnesty International suggests hate crimes against Roma remain a serious concern in Hungary, while police lack the guidelines to thoroughly and effectively investigate them.

    "Five years after these cold-blooded killings, Roma in Hungary still do not receive adequate protection from hate crimes," said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia Program.

    "This horrific case should have been a wake-up call about the continuous, often violent discrimination faced by the Roma community, but the perpetrators of such acts are still not being brought to justice."

    January 30, 2013

    European governments must end segregation and discrimination against Romani children in schools, Amnesty International said today after two Roma men won a case against Hungary in the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) over their education at a special school.

    The Court ruled on Tuesday that Hungary had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by segregating Romani children in a special school. The judgment brought to an end a legal struggle that began in 2006. The applicants in the case were represented by the Hungarian organization Chance for Children Foundation and the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre,

    “You’d hope educating children in special schools simply because of their race would be unthinkable in Europe in 2013,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Regional Campaign Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia.

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