Hungary seems to pursue a threefold strategy. First, the much reported erection of fences to its neighboring countries and massive border controls are supposed to create an impression that it’s vital for the country’s security to seal Hungary off and prevent refugees from entering Hungarian territory. Second, it deals with the refugees that have managed to enter Hungarian territory by changing its asylum laws frequently and worsening conditions for refugees in the country, consequently inciting refugees to move on and not stay in Hungary. Third, it seems to create the conditions for fast transit of refugees out of Hungary and into Austria. The plan to hastily construct tent-camps on the border to Austria falls within the last two of categories. It is an integral part of the strategy of the Hungarian government to rid the country of what it seems to perceive as a mortal threat to its values, and what some would perceive as human beings asking for protection in an EU-country. The consequences of such a “Great Wall Operation” strategy are not only political but have very serious negative effects on the conditions that refugees can expect to face when entering and staying in Hungary.
In preparation for the refugees arriving in Körmend, the stores in the small town have reportedly been bought out of their supplies of pepper spray by the local population. Xenophobia seems flying high with the locals of the town. A local in Körmend told 24.hu that she would be ready to “shoot migrants if she had to defend her life,” having bought a gas pistol for her defense.
While xenophobia is on the rise in Körmend, as in the rest of the country, the planned structures of the camps are very concerning too. While the official number of people residing in open camps in Hungary is reported to be ca. 1700 , the two new camps together are designed to host between 600 and 700 people. With the announcement of the government to close down all other remaining camps and to move people residing in those to the two new camps in Körmend and Szentgotthárd, we ask ourselves: where will all the people fit? Where will they go? The tent-camps may fit well into the “Great Wall Operation” strategy of the government, but they simultaneously will mean: overcrowded, insufficiently equipped and, in the last instance, inhuman camps for people in dire need of international protection who intend to merely live a decent life.