Criticizing the Hungarian Government’s callous move to starve the refugees
Author: Shaurya Shukla, Chanakya National Law University, Patna.
As per the reports, the Hungarian government has reached the acme of ruthlessness and sent humanity and human rights to their nadir. The reports say that Hungarian authorities have stopped distributing food to the rejected asylum seekers, who are held at the border with Serbia since August 2019. The Hungarian government, instead of finding a suitable alternative for the asylum seekers is indulged in justifying their move of letting refugees starve.
A leading non-governmental organization named “Human Rights Watch”, which deals with the coverage of the global human rights issues said in its report that a woman who was breastfeeding her child was given food but with a strict restriction that she was not allowed to share it with anyone else including her family members. Such incident depicts that the Hungarian government has reached a “new inhumane low”. Taking such actions to force the asylum seekers to give up their asylum claims and leave Hungary is one of the most heinous act that a government can commit. It amounts to torture as many refugees have to stay without a single grain of food up to 5 days. Through this blog, the author aims to shed some light on this callous move of Hungarian Government and show how a refugee is nothing more than a “persona non grata” in Orban’s Hungary. The author will try to explain how the refugee law of Hungary is a mass violation of the international law obligations that the country needs to fulfil and finally the author will conclude with giving a fair share of loathing to the Hungarian government.
Refugees are nothing more than “persona non Grata” in Orban’s Hungary
Hungary doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to immigration and refugees. The Hungarian government always had a stern stand towards refugees as it allows only 2 asylum seekers per day to present their claim and it also had installed 109-mile long fence on its southern border to avoid any crossing from Serbia and Croatia. Not only the government legislations but also the popular opinion is against the asylum seekers as 76 % of the Hungarian population says that immigration will increase terrorism and 86% of the population considers refugees as a “Burden”. They claim that “if immigration continues, terror will become part of large life in the large cities”.
Hungary also approved a package of legislation called “Stop Soros Law”, which criminalized providing aid to undocumented refugees and asylum seekers. An asylum seeker while expressing his ordeal said that when he came to Hungary for seeking asylum, the guards herded him and other asylum seekers in a cargo container for two days without any food or water, then he was taken to one of the country’s two transit camps. Which was barbed with wires and he was also not allowed to move freely.
On the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Hungarian revolution, Prime Minister Orban said “ We don’t see these people as Muslim refugees. We see them as Muslim Invaders. Orban also denied taking part in the European Union’s (EU) resettlement program for refugees in 2015. These incidents establish why a refugee or a asylum seeker is nothing more than a persona non grata in Orban’s Hungary.
Refugee Law of Hungary is a mass violation of international law
In this part of the blog, the author will try to explain how Hungary is not upholding its international law obligations. An international convention named International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which is signed and rarified by Hungary provides some rights which the Hungarian government is transgressing through its asylum laws. Article 6(1) of ICCPR says that everyone has an inherent right to life and no person shall be deprived of that right but letting someone starve is a violation of this right as no person can live without food. Keeping someone without food in a closed container is also a violation of article 7 of ICCPR which forbids inhumane and degrading treatment of any human being. Article 14 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) provides that everyone has a right to enjoy asylum in other countries free from persecution and making conditions difficult for refugees so that, they give up their claim is a violation of this right.
Hungarian Refugee law is not only a violation of International Human Rights but also it is a blatant violation of the International Refugee Law. Article 23 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which is both signed and ratified by the Hungarian Government says that the contracting parties shall treat all the lawfully staying refugees of their territory with same accord and respect that they give to their citizens but the ordeal expressed by the refugees depicts that Orban’s Hungary has completely disregarded this obligation. Hungarian government cannot make any move without considering the persecution that the refugees have faced in the country from which they have escaped. They should also take into account human rights concerns before taking any decision. This is a mandatory protocol as per article 3 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of which Hungary is also a signatory.
If a person is properly hydrated, then he/she can survive without food for not more than 20-25 days but the condition of that person would be nothing better than a corpse. Starving someone to death is most pitiless and hard-hearted move a government can take. Humanity fell to its bare minimum in this incident. Refugees are not some kind of monsters or hooligans. They are just in need of some basic amenities to live a dignified and peaceful life away from the persecution. The author strongly criticizes the ethos of prime minster Orban, who thinks refugees are nothing more than terrorists and stereotypes a whole community. This persecution can end only if the popular opinion changes as in a country, there is nothing more powerful than the Vox Populi. Orban cannot spread his propaganda, if the people of Hungary understand that there is no connection between terrorism and Immigration otherwise Orban Hungary will always remain a hostile territory for the asylum seekers.