Makeshift tents for refugees at the border between Serbia and Hungary at Horgos, Northern Serbia. © Edvard Molnar/ANSA
Makeshift tents for refugees at the border between Serbia and Hungary at Horgos, Northern Serbia. © Edvard Molnar/ANSA

A group of over 90 asylum seekers have started a hunger strike in Hungary, protesting their detention in a migrant camp.

The hunger strikers are part of a group of 102 migrants mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria who are being held in a closed reception center in the southeastern city of Bekescsaba.

Hungarian state television broadcast images of the strikers, some of whom could be seen holding a sheet that said "We are refugees, we are not terrorists" from behind a barred window.

Hungary's Immigration and Citizenship Bureau sent a statement to Reuters Monday, saying that "most" of the hunger strikers were in violation of the Dublin Regulation. According to the statement, the hunger strikers illegally left the country in which they first entered the European Union (EU).

Marta Pardavi, a representative from the asylum rights group Hungarian Helsinki Committee, told Reuters that the group had sent visitors to the camp, which was "calm for now." "Most [migrants] come from circumstances that makes it likely they suffer from psychological trauma," he said on Monday.

Last week, Hungary passed legislation that could allow all asylum seekers to be kept in closed container camps near the Serbian border. Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has been vocally anti-migrant, saying that immigration threatens European culture and security. His government has built fences along the country’s borders in order to keep migrants out.

Also on Wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that two asylum seekers from Bangladesh had been illegally detained and then deported by Hungary in 2015. The ruling awarded Ilias Ilias and Ali Ahmed each 10,000 euros because they had been detained in a transit zone near the Hungarian border with Serbia and then deported.

The court found that Hungary had not carried out individual assessments of their asylum applications, and that the pair "had effectively been deprived of their liberty without any formal, reasoned decision and without appropriate judicial review.

Author: Avner Davis

 

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