We have asked the candidates of Bicske, Vámosszabadi and Debrecen, where the refugee camps are, and we asked many of the district-candidates of Budapest most importantly about how they plan to bring the refugees and the migrants closer to the local community, how refugees can have easier access to education, health care, free Hungarian courses and a human treatment by the police.
You can read our questions here and based on the answers we will get and publish, everybody will be able to decide which candidates are really willing to act for a more inclusive local community.
The Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary (MigSzol) would like to inform the candidates who want to become mayors of the districts of Budapest, that many people who were granted the refugee status will be able to vote in the local elections on 12 October 2014.
According to the information gathered by MigSzol, many refugees who were freshly granted the refugee status received a letter from the local elections office informing them about the date of the elections and their right to vote. Unfortunately this letter was sent to them in Hungarian language, but MigSzol helped them understand what the letter informs them about, and MigSzol is promoting them their right to vote.
Most of the people who were granted the refugee protection have a higher level of political sensitivity and a higher level of consciousness about their rights. They did not want to stay any more in their countries of origin due to the persecution they had to face because of their political opinion or religion or race etc. Moreover, the persecution they had to face or what they would have to face upon returning to the countries of origin of the refugees was also proven to be true by the Hungarian state during their asylum procedures.
Most of the refugees are living in Budapest because they have the highest chance to get a job there. But not only refugees, but also many migrants and asylum-seekers are living in Budapest. Those asylum-seekers are living in Budapest, who are not allowed to stay in refugee camps any more, and they are practically homeless, they do not have their own room, or they are living in homeless shelters or even on the streets. Even though asylum-seekers are not able to vote at the local government elections, they also have a chance to prove their problems and to get the refugee status from Hungary, so the attitude of the local government and politicians towards the future refugees who will be living in our communities is crucial.
In order to inform the refugees in your district about your policies and plans which can affect their daily lives in the local community, we would kindly like to ask you to answer the following questions by email to [email protected] before 12 October, 2014:
- What plans do you have to bring the local community and the refugees and migrants together in order to decrease the distrust and the lack of information towards refugees and migrants?
- How do you enforce the right of the children of refugees to have access to local kindergartens and schools in order to ensure that the refugee and migrant children can play and learn together with the Hungarian children and not segregated?
- In what ways do you plan to help the refugees to get access to jobs in order to decrease their precarious situation and to help them get closer to the local community?
- Given that many refugees find it extremely difficult to rent a flat because they run into prejudices towards foreign people (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ais5a6MUj7Y) how do you plan to help the refugees and the migrants to get easier access to cheap and dignified housing? (Are you willing to provide social housing to refugees and their families with priority?)
- What steps will you take to ensure that the workers in the local healthcare system will be well informed about the situation of refugees so that they will never again refuse to provide health services due to the lack of information and the prejudices of some the health care workers?
- How do you plan to inform the staff members of the local administration and the local police about the specific situation of refugees, so that these local government employees and policemen will be sensitized about the situation of refugees and will always treat the refugees as equal with other people and will always respect their human dignity?
- Are you planning to start a school program in which refugees can talk about their lives to the pupils and students?
- In the light of the fact that the Office of Immigration and Nationality does not provide any opportunities to refugees to learn Hungarian, in what way are you planning to provide free Hungarian courses to refugees and migrants in your district in order to strengthen the connection between the local community and the refugees and migrants?
- Please write your thoughts on a more inclusive local community.
The right of migrants and refugees to vote is also granted in Article XXIII of the Fundamental Law of Hungary:
(3) Every adult person recognised as a refugee, immigrant or resident in Hungary shall have the right to vote in elections of local government representatives and mayors.
The people who were granted the refugee status by the Hungarian state are those people, who had to face serious, often life-threatening problems in their countries of origin, as can be read below in Article XIV of the Fundamental Law of Hungary:
(3) Hungary shall, upon request, grant asylum to non-Hungarian citizens being persecuted or having a well-founded fear of persecution in their native country or in the country of their usual residence for reasons of race, nationality, membership of a particular social group, religious or political belief, if they do not receive protection from their country of origin or from any other country.
We wish you a successful election and we are looking forward to your answers and your contact to discuss our further suggestions!
The Members of Migrant Solidarity Group