Hungary: Getting tough with refugees
Prime Minister Viktor Orban is turning Hungary into a symbol of heartless cruelty, said Friss Robert in Nepszava (Hungary). Saying the country must defend itself against an influx of Islamist terrorists, his government has passed a draconian new law to deter migrants from attempting to claim asylum here. Under the new rules, any migrant who travels through a third country before entering Hungary—such as Serbia, which many Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees pass through on their way to northern Europe—will be automatically refused asylum. Any migrant currently in the country, as well as all new asylum seekers, will be detained in a “transit area” near the border, housed in converted shipping containers and surrounded by razor-wire fencing. Families with children will be trapped there, perhaps for months. Only unaccompanied minors will be spared detention. The United Nations, European Union, and just about every aid group in Europe has condemned the plan as brutal, saying that it breaches U.N. and EU conventions on human rights. But the prime minister doesn’t care. “Migration is the Trojan horse of terrorism,” Orban said. “If the world sees that we can defend our borders, then no one will try to come to Hungary illegally.”
Toward that end, he has created a new police unit known as the border hunters, said Krisztina Than in Reuters.com. Recruits to the force, which the government says will eventually number 3,000, are taught judo and will carry pistols, batons, pepper spray, and handcuffs. There’s nothing to suggest that this new unit will handle migrants any differently than Hungary’s existing border patrol. “Doctors Without Borders said its teams in Serbia were treating a growing number of migrants who reported being beaten and stomped on by border guards”—accusations denied by Hungarian officials. It may be tempting to get on a moral high horse, said Jacques Schuster in Die Welt (Germany), but the truth is that Hungary is “doing our dirty work.” Where would Germany be today if Hungary hadn’t closed its border? If you want to be able to integrate true refugees into your society, you have to “prevent mass immigration.”
Hungary sees this as a matter of national survival, said Jozsef Horvath in Magyar Idok (Hungary). We all remember our great defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1526, when the sultan’s hordes overran Hungarians at the Battle of Mohacs. Contrast that tragedy with 2015, when “once again foreigners occupied our capital,” this time some 400,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa swarming across our territory. Rather than simply succumb, Orban’s government swiftly closed the border and protected the country. “Some may find a 500-year-old analogy far-fetched,” but Hungary’s integrity is no less at stake today. Islamist radicals have taken over to our south, in Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo. We are facing “a well-structured, coordinated attack on our continent” by an “aggressive, conquering ideology” of extremist Islam. This time, Hungary will not fall.