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It is time to demand political change from people who are competent to make it happen. Thank you!
I am writing to you as an angry and disappointed European citizen to ask you to fulfill your duty as a democratic representative. I ask you to pressure the government of Hungary to see to the humanitarian needs of refugees currently in Hungary and to let the refugees in Hungary travel onwards to other European destinations using safe means of transportation.
As you are no doubt aware the current situation for refugees in Hungary seriously threatens the EU’s commitment to fundamental rights and freedoms and the safety of refugees and those seeking protection. Such actions on the part of the Hungarian government, while failing to stop or manage effectively those refugees in search of protection, work instead to create a situation that places refugees at greater levels of risk and fuels the criminal activities of smugglers. For example:
- The government of Hungary has failed to provide safe and humane conditions for people at the Keleti train station in Budapest and the overcrowded refugee camps around the country.
- There have been serious human rights violations of people seeking protection in Hungary. These include detention of vulnerable people in inhumane conditions with no individual assessment, physical threat from police, denied access to food, water and basic healthcare, and segregating family members from each other
- The Hungarian authorities have failed to protect refugees and those seeking protection from the physical threats and abuse of neo-Nazi groups.
- Hungary has made crossing its border with Serbia extra-legally, punishable by up to 8 years in prison while at the same time building a fence with the intention of making legal crossing an impossibility.
- The new and the planned changes to the Hungarian asylum law seriously endanger access to protection in the following ways:
- A 60-meter transit zone will be established along the Hungary-Serbia border. Civil society organizations will not have access to this zone and will be unable to monitor conditions there
- A new so-called “border procedure” will be established, during which asylum applicants are screened and interviewed with the help of remote translators. The border procedure will determine whether applicants are eligible to apply for asylum. Those who will be rejected will not have the chance to appeal or to refer to new facts and circumstances.
- Serbia, Macedonia and Greece have been declared as “safe third countries”, and the state will be able to deport nearly all asylum seekers back to these countries.
- Illegal entry to Hungary will be punishable by 3-8 years of imprisonment, and 8-20 years in cases where the border fence has been damaged.
- The Hungarian government will be able to introduce emergency measures allowing the police to enter private homes without prior warning to search for ‘illegal migrants’.
- In cases of emergency that include situations like the one ongoing the Hungarian military will be authorized to use force, to restrict personal freedoms.
- In addition the Hungarian military will be authorized to use weapons against refugees and those seeking protection for the purposes of border control.
With this in mind we ask you again as a democratic representative to do all in your power to pressure the Hungarian government to ensure that the rights and values upon which the European Union was founded are enacted with respect to those seeking protection in Hungary and beyond.