Our two young visitors from Germany aim to produce a documentary about asylum seekers and refugees in Hungary, and also to depict the situation of those who are deported back to Hungary from Germany. In the documentary, which will be televised nationwide in Germany, they also focus on the controversial phenomenon of church asylum. In Germany, many people seek asylum inside church buildings, as in the police is forbidden from entering churches; it is an emergency solution of avoiding immediate deportation.
After an unsuccessful attempt to contact the Immigration Office of Hungary to get access inside the Debrecen camp, the filmmakers were forced to conduct interviews and film their documentary from outside the camp. Hearing about MigSzol’s work with refugees and asylum seekers in the camp, the two documentarists contacted us to see if they could accompany us on one of our regular visits to Debrecen. Once we arrived there, it took us about half an hour to meet with a group of people willing to discuss their situation, and share their problems and concerns. And as usual, more and more people joined in the discussion.
Out of all the people that we met in the Debrecen camp, especially two drew our attention. They were brothers from Afghanistan. The elder one seemed to be around 25 years old, which was confirmed by his travel document. The younger brother, however, was rather more perplexing: his friends in the camp claimed the younger one to be a minor (under 18 years old). Even though we assume he was not a minor (which means he can be legally detained), to us he obviously looked younger than 25, and really be the little brother of the first man. However, the documents were telling another story. On the official papers given to them by the Hungarian authorities, the younger one was 30, while the older one was 25. It came as a shock to all of us. Although we had seen such cases of mismatched ages before, the difference between what was written on paper and what the naked eye could see had never been this grotesquely obvious. This was an ironic reminder to the previous visit, when we met eight young teens who, curiously, all had the same birthday (1st January 1995). The puzzle of these eight teens was solved when we found out that they all had been detained, and indeed, it seems likely that the Immigration Office marks their birthday as such in order to gain legal grounds to detain people. Also the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has found obvious cases regarding detention of minors - we recommend their note regarding detention in Hungary from May 2014.
Bed bugs continue to torment detainees
Recently MigSzol inquired at the Immigration Office about the numerous complaints put forward by the residents of the camp on the presence of bed bugs. The Office answered that the insects had been eradicated, and that there were no more bed bugs to be had. Since everyone who came from within the camp to talk with us had a lot of bite marks on their feet, hands and faces, it was hard for us and the German journalists to believe this. The residents also spoke at length about how their complaints are not taken seriously by camp authorities, and about the authorities’ gross lack of measures to exterminate the bed bugs. Another major problem that came up during our discussion with the asylum seekers and the refugees was the lack of beds. As there are no more beds in the Debrecen camp, refugees are forced to sleep on plain sheets spread on the bare ground. At this point one of the journalists stopped recording, and told to us "No bed? But this is the minimum right of asylum seekers and refugees to have a place to sleep on".
Continuing inhuman treatment in the asylum Jail
Unfortunately, the visit was not without more stories on how cruelly the guards are treating the detainees in the jail for asylum seekers. Numerous people who had just been released from the jail told us how some of the guards had beaten some of the asylum seekers. Nobody did anything in the jail to even question this ill-treatment, let alone to start criminal proceedings against the guards for committing these crimes against the asylum seekers.
That's it for now - thanks to the journalists all these problems are documented, and as soon as the documentary is out, Migszol with share it with you!
Stay in touch with us, very soon we will follow up with news from the camp in Vámosszabadi.