Five Migszol members travelled to Debrecen to talk with refugees and asylum seekers who were happy to see us again. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to socialize with asylum seekers who have recently been released from the Debrecen detention centre. Some of the refugees that talked to Migszol members were those who participated in the protest in May. Our protest took place not long ago, and it’s still too soon to see the effects of it; no changes have been noticed by the people living in the open camp and in the detention centre. We state again that albeit we believe asylum seekers and refugees should not be kept in camps, but while this is the case, we are looking to improvements in reception conditions the camps.
Detention of minors and lack of legal aid
A 17-year old refugee from Sierra Leone shared his story with us. Before the Migszol protest, he was detained for six months after entering Hungary without a passport. He has many friends in the jail, and recounted experience of the violence asylum seekers encounter almost daily: disagreements with the security come with the risk of physical assault and losing any money that the asylum seeker might have. He was never given a lawyer or social worker. During our interviews with ex-detainees, who were sent to the Debrecen open camp, we realized that the ratio of detainees to social workers in very high. Also communication is often problematic. Furthermore, the fact that in all detention centers state lawyers can only spend five to ten minutes a week with the asylum seekers and the fact that lawyers from Hungarian Helsinki Committee are more present in the camps than state lawyers, show the failure of the Hungarian state to provide legal access to the asylum seekers and refugees in Hungary.