Rakan is a Palestinian refugee from Syria, who came to Hungary through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia in May 2013, but then left for Denmark from where in November 2013 he was deported back to Hungary under the Dublin-law of the EU. He was granted the refugee status one week after his wife and mother were killed in February 2014. It is important to know that Palestinian-Syrian refugees are in a very special situation because they have become refugees twice: once from Palestine, and second time fleeing the brutal civil war in Syria. For background information on how the civil war affects Palestinian refugees, see the informative webpage of UNRWA, the UN Agency that especially works with Palestinian refugees. You can read more details about Rakan also in HVG (in Hungarian). In the HVG article, you can also see many pictures of his family.
Rakan's wife was working for UNRWA in Syria, and while Rakan was already in Hungary, his wife and mother tragically died when the Syrian army bombed an UNRWA refugee camp. The five children of the couple, between eleven and nineteen years old, decided to flee Syria and try to join their father. As reported in media outlets such as the Guardian and Al Jazeera , Palestinian refugees from Syria encountered problems when trying to cross the border to Lebanon and Jordan, many of whom were rejected entry into the two countries. As many other refugees fleeing the civil war, Rakan’s children were denied entry to Lebanon and Jordan, but managed to cross into Turkey on their own. They filed a family reunification visa application at the Hungarian embassy in Istanbul in order to join their father in Hungary. Because they did not cross the border through an official border checkpoint, the embassy rejected the claim on the grounds that the children are staying in Turkey illegally and therefore do not have a Turkish entry stamp in their Syrian-Palestinian passports. By the way, this rule is against the EU-law. Meanwhile, the Hungarian state decided to no longer accept Syrian-Palestinian passports as travel documents.
We do not encourage Rakan’s hunger strike, because we think he needs to stay physically strong, as the process of reuniting with his children may take a long time. We do, however, agree with his position that the current policies effectively preventing family reunification are wrong, unjust, and inhuman and they only magnify the suffering of this family. Therefore, Migszol members are joining his hunger strike for a period of 24 hours each.
We believe in sharing this burden for two reasons:
1. Although we do not support hunger strike as a protest and wish that Rakan would eat in order to stay strong during the long process, we respect his individual decision. Therefore some members want to act in solidarity with Rakan.
2. Migszol members want to show their allegiance with his struggle against a system and a set of rules that is preventing Rakan’s reunion with his children.
During the next five days, each day there will be one or two Migszol members joining this hunger strike. For each person, there will be a short post from the Migszol member in question explaining the reasons behind this symbolic action.