Humanitarian tragedy emerges at Hungarian border

Increasing number of immigrants at Hungarian Serbian border aggravates humanitarian tragedy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

After Hungary’s announcement in mid-June, of building a four-metre high, 175 kilometre-long fence to stem the flow of illegal migrants, humanitarian difficulties in the Serbian border have increased.

Migrants mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq want to go Western Europe seeking a better life have ended up staying at the Serbian border town Subotica in large numbers.

Migrants sleep in old buildings or outdoors in dirty, unhygienic conditions.

Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy Aleksandar Vulin, pointed to the humanitarian tragedy at the Serbian border. He also stressed that the Serbian government spends 15,000 euros per day to provide better conditions.

“I’m afraid we are going to face a humanitarian catastrophe when thousands of people who want to leave Serbia physically will not be able to,” Reuters reported.

“Right now it’s summer, we can put them in tents and they can hold out,” said Vulin to Reuters adding “But what are we going to do with women, children, the elderly, the sick ... when it’s minus 20? Serbia is not going to become a reception center for hundreds of thousands of migrants. We simply can’t do it, nor do these people want it.”

Executive director, lawyer at Asylum Protection Center Rados Djurovic told Reuters that “That desire to get to Hungary - the first free Schengen territory beyond which travel is borderless - is so great that people will risk everything to continue on that route.”

Hungary’s fence will be completed on Aug. 31

The fence to stop illegal immigration is scheduled for completion in late August while migrants are arriving at Serbia from its southern neighbour Macedonia at a rate of over 1,000 per day, according to the Hungarian government.

Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs, quoting Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said “The security fence can be built along its full length in a month," Reuters reports.

Kovacs also advised that the Hungarian government was spending $79.3 million to fund the 175-kilometre long fence, Associated Press reported.

The Mayor of Budapest, Mate Kocsis, and member of the conservative ruling party Fidesz said that “The refugees don’t respect the rules of peaceful co-existence. They are loud, they litter and they loiter in groups, often stoking fear in people,” Hungarian Free Press reports.

“They use parks and public spaces as toilets, they leave garbage behind, they are confrontational with passers-by and they cause fear,” Kocsis added.

Around a thousand people demonstrated in downtown Budapest in mid-July against the Hungarian government erecting a fence to prevent the flow of migrants into the country from neighbouring Serbia.

About 100,000 migrants and refugees entered Hungary in 2015.

TRTWorld and agencies