Migráns Szolidaritás Csoport (Migrant Solidarity Group) are horrified at the recent announcement by Jobbik to protest and demand the removal of the Debrecen Reception Centre this Saturday, 18 May, 2013. The idea of Jobbik was also endorsed by the mayor of Debrecen, Lajos Kósa (Fidesz), who announced that „if the situation remains as it is now, the reception centre has to be moved away from the city.”
However, the Debrecen police chief said that there has not been an increase of crime even while the number of people in the camp has increased. Therefore, the legally permitted Jobbik protest focused on the 'criminality' of migrants is a possibly hate crime violation itself — much like Jobbik's past obsession with 'gypsy criminality.'
Migráns Szolidaritás also finds it ironic that while Jobbik, which has a long history of threats of violence, is allowed by the police to protest in front of the Debrecen Reception Centre. ~This is the same police force ID checks our members and supporters when they come to our peaceful cultural events (see: http://migszol.com/cikk/496).
It is also a Hungarian media myth that Jobbik loves Muslims, Arabs and Iranians. While Jobbik says such things in the press for its own twisted Anti-Semitic reasonings, the reality is that Jobbik will be inciting a pogrom against the asylum-seekers and their families currently living inside the Debrecen camp — which likely includes Arabs, Palestinians and Iranians.
Migráns Szolidaritás fears that Jobbik are now searching for the next 'Other' to target within Hungary — migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees. Migrants are easy targets for exclusion and attack, they have few allies within Hungarian society and do not have the governmental and social protections that other groups have. Since January 2013 the Hungarian government cannot detain asylum-seekers during their first asylum-process. The practice before was that asylum-seekers were held in terrible detention centres just because they did not have a valid passport or residence permit. It is not the fault of the asylum-seekers currently staying in the Debrecen camp that since they (correctly, in the opinion of Migráns Szolidaritás) cannot be detained. The asylum seekers’ visibility has increased within Debrecen and it is also not their fault that the Hungarian state is not fully prepared to support the special needs of these people.
As Jobbik and other groups now target migrants as their new scapegoat, this is a time for Hungarians, the NGO community and the Hungarian activist community to speak out for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants and to welcome their inclusion into Hungarian life.
Jobbik will start their protest march tonight at 8pm and will finish at 9:30pm. It has been reported that they will bring torches and walk towards the reception centre in the dark at nighttime. According to the Hungarian law on assembly, people have the right to demonstrate in a peaceful manner and the protests cannot lead to the violation of other people’s rights and freedoms.
In the opinion of Migráns Szolidaritás, the symbolic use of torches in the dark makes their protest intimidating and provoking and will likely result in restricting the freedoms of the asylum-seekers and their families living in the reception centre, because will be advised to not leave the reception centre during the protest. The way Jobbik protests against the asylum-seekers reminds us of the darkest period of US American history when the Ku Klux Klan also used torches during their night patrols organized against African-American people.
We request that the Hungarian state and police increase the protection of the asylum-seekers – many of whom are families with children and other vulnerable people including the elderly those who have suffered serious traumas and torture because they were treated as the “Other” in their countries of origin.
Hungary should be a safe place for asylum-seekers. The people in the Debrecen Reception Centre have fled from countries where they were persecuted due to their ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or belonging to any specific social group — they should not have to fear the same persecution here in Hungary.
Therefore we ask the police and the mayor of Debrecen to protect the asylum-seekers both inside the reception centre and on the streets of Debrecen. The presence of the police should serve to increase protection of the the entire Debrecen community, asylum seekers included. We make this request also for the time after this Saturday's rally because tensions can continue after Jobbik’s provocations.
We also believe this is a time for the Hungarian state to reconsider how it 'integrates' asylum-seekers and refugees into Hungarian society. For Hungary’s task is to create a welcoming atmosphere for all asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants living in Hungary.