Lázár: Migration Aid should have asked for the state’s help

October 6, 2017

Photo: MTI/Lajos Soós

Had refugee advocacy NGO Migration Aid asked the Hungarian state for help, the Őcsény incident could have been prevented, Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár said at a government press conference on Thursday, Magyar Nemzet reports.

According to Lázár, those NGOs that did not ask for the Hungarian state’s help in assisting refugees are “irresponsible” and “not prudent enough.” The minister cited the example of so-called Erzsébet camps, government-organized camps where “hundreds of thousands” of Hungarian and ethnic-Hungarian children spend their vacations. Lázár said the Hungarian state cares for the 50 under-age refugees who are currently staying in Hungary without a legal guardian. According to Index.hu, Lázár said that whether people like the government or not, the government can still care for refugees better than “some NGO with an uncertain background.”

“We will write Mr. Lázár a letter and ask him exactly what he thought,” Migration Aid board member András Siewert told Magyar Nemzet. Siewert added that Migration Aid accepts help: “If someone wants to help these people to fit into the Hungarian society, then why wouldn’t we take advantage of this opportunity?”

However, Siewert questioned the state’s ability to care for refugee children. Citing an encounter with some of the refugee children in a camp in Fót, Siewert said the children lack appropriate clothing as winter approaches and temperatures drop. “Not only can the state not provide a vacation [for the children], but it also cannot help with basic care in every case,” he told Magyar Nemzet.

At the press conference, Lázár was asked whether Prime Minister Viktor Orbán should have condemned the violence in Őcsény instead of condoning it. Avoiding the question, Lázár simply answered: “Every coin has two sides.”