Hungary deploys army to stop refugee influx

Hungarian parliament approve law which gives permission to deploy their army on to its borders in attempt to help manage refugee crisis using non-lethal force

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Hungarian policemen walk towards the border with Croatia near the village of Zakany, Hungary on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.

Updated Sep 22, 2015

The Hungarian parliament passed a law on Monday that gives the government permission to deploy the army in an attempt to help administer the refugee crisis that has overwhelmed the European Union, granting the military the right to deploy a range of non-lethal force.

The law says that the army has the right to use a range of non-lethal weapons, including rubber bullets, pyrotechnical devices, tear gas grenades or net guns, based on the text posted on the parliament's website.

The legislation passed with 151 votes out of the 199-member parliament, with 12 against and 27 abstentions.

The ruling center-right Fidesz Party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban was backed with the vote of the radical nationalist Jobbik Party, which previously sought even tougher measures to block the path of the asylum seekers heading further into the EU.

Orban told the parliament that the police officers found it near impossible to secure the country’s borders with both Serbia and Croatia without the assistance of the army.

"We can defend the Serbian stretch of the border," he said, adding that fortifications at the 175-kilometre (110 mile) Hungary-Serbia border were working better than expected.

Hungary completed its wire fence on its border with Croatia last Saturday in an attempt to stop the flow of refugees into the country, which resulted a drastic drop in the number of refugees entering the stretch of  border.

Budapest’s wired fence pushed the refugees to continue their journey through Croatia, which is not a member of Schengen, causing the enabled country to wave the refugees to Hungary once again.

"We can defend the Croatian stretch but to do that we need the army to patrol together with the police," Orban said.

He added that Hungary is willing to act by itself until the EU finds a common ground to curb the flow of asylum seekers.

"Europe is rich but weak. That is the most dangerous combination possible," he said.

"The result is catastrophic. Because Europe cannot defend its external borders, internal borders are shut again."

"We need to rethink many European inventions, institutions and treaties. But until we do we cannot sit idle. Until the EU states act as one, member states will be forced to go out of their way to fend off this brutal threat."

Hungary is on a major overland transit journey from the Middle East and Africa for refugees who have fled famine, poverty and war, with more than 140,000 people crossing its southern border with Serbia this year alone.

The refugee crisis affected more than 60 million people as of 2015. One in every 122 people worldwide is now either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.

According to UNHCR, more than 264,000 asylum applications have been recorded in 38 European countries.

Hungary has received over 220,000 asylum applications in 2015 alone and has been heavily criticised over the officials' treatments of refugees, mostly fleeing conflict in the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe.

Human Rights Watch said that Hungary has become a place of humiliation for Syrian refugees.

Almost 100,000 refugees reached the EU borders in July, furthermore, more than 150,000  refugees entered Hungary from January to September.

Almost 2,500 refugees died while trying to reach Europe since the start of 2015, according to UN reports.

TRTWorld and agencies