Hungary: Hunger strike of migrants

Nearly 100 migrants began a hunger strike on Monday at a detention centre in Hungary, demanding that they be allowed to leave, the country’s immigration authority said.

The Immigration and Citizenship Bureau said 94 of the 102 migrants in the Bekescsaba camp on the Romanian border were taking part.

“Most of the hunger strikers are under Dublin proceedings as they unlawfully left the country of first entry into the European Union,” the bureau told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“The hunger strikers signalled their demands in writing, primarily complaining about being detained and asked to be allowed to leave,” it said.

“They complained about being fingerprinted as they have no intention to stay in Hungary.”

An online plea for help by “Zanyar Faraj”, claiming to be a spokesperson for the migrants in Bekescsaba, called for better conditions there.

It said many inmates were sick and depressed.

“Our lawyers went on a human rights monitoring mission to the Bekescsaba detention camp a month ago,” said Marta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an asylum rights group.

“Most (migrants) come from circumstances that makes it likely they suffer from psychological trauma.

As far as we know the situation in the camp is calm for now.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal opponent of the wave of migration into Europe, which he says threatens the socioeconomic makeup of the continent, and his government is building fences to keep migrants out.

On the other hand, Turkey “should re-evaluate” a landmark deal with the European Union to curb the flow of migrants in response to an escalating crisis with the Netherlands which barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies, a minister said on Monday.

Turkey should re-evaluate the issue of land crossings” under the March 18, 2016 migrant deal with the EU, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anadolu.

The deal has sought to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU, in particular Greece, by land and sea routes. Celik said migrant crossings across the Aegean Sea − which have cost hundreds of lives − should be prevented as a matter of human responsibility but the land portion of the deal should be reconsidered.

Under the deal, Ankara pledged to take back all illegal migrants landing in Greece from Turkey to help reduce the numbers heading into the EU.

Turkey also pledged to take any necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for illegal migration from opening.

Turkey and the Netherlands have been locked in a crisis after the Dutch government banned Turkish ministers from holding rallies on its territory ahead of an April referendum on boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

The Turkish leader likened the ban to “Nazism” and “fascism” and sharply warned the Netherlands would pay a price. Erdogan also slammed Europe’s silence on Sunday, saying: “They don’t bite each other.”

In apparent reference to Erdogan’s comments, EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn called on Turkey to “refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation”.But Celik said Mogherini had made a “completely wrong statement” with language that was inappropriate for her status as EU foreign policy chief.


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