NGOs call on the Hungarian government to tackle the refugee crisis humanely

September 9, 2015

Hungarian riot police watching over refugee camp in Röszke  Photo: Origo.hu
Hungarian riot police watching over refugee camp in Röszke Photo: Origo.hu

The following press release was sent to the Budapest Beacon this morning:

Budapest, September 8, 2015 – The refugee crisis unfolding these days in Hungary has led to a critical situation where we feel it is our duty to speak out. The signatories urge the Hungarian government to handle the humanitarian crisis in the wake of the arrival of refugees according to basic standards of humanity, and to provide real help instead of criminalizing the refugees.
We do not wish to deny that the European asylum system is presently going through a severe crisis, nor to suggest that the key to the solution resides solely in the hands of the Hungarian government. None of the above, however, is ground for exemption from the duty of attempting to alleviate the plight of refugees. That is not a refugee issue or an immigration issue, but a basic requirement of humanity. Providing help to people in need, and doing everything we can for them – this is the moral responsibility of each and every citizen and government.

Yet, because of either ineptitude or deliberate inaction on the part of the government, a crisis has emerged in the streets and on the squares of Budapest, reaching by now the border village of Röszke as well. Handling the situation has been left for months to civil society groups and individuals sacrificing their free time, work, knowledge and money to provide assistance to their fellow human beings in need. We express our respect for and solidarity with the formal and informal civic communities that have done, with incredible determination and perseverance, that which should have been the task of the institutions of the state: to provide humane conditions for those in need.

The situation that developed in Röszke needs to be solved by the state, with the involvement of international organizations. We call on the government of Hungary to act the way a government can be expected to act in a crisis: humanely, fairly, and with due respect for human rights. Instead of criminalizing the refugees, let the government focus on alleviating their suffering and plight.

Signatory organizations:

Autonomia Foundation
BirthHouse Association
Chance For Childen Foundation
Civil College Foundation
Clean Air Action Group
Cromo Foundation
DemNet
Greenpeace Hungary
Háttér Association
Human Platform Association
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Hungarian Energy Association
Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation
Hungarian Europe Society
Hungarian Helsinki Committee
K-Monitor
Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities
Menedék Hungarian Association for Migrants
Mertek Media Monitor
Pangea Cultural and Environmental Association
Protect the Future Association
Rainbow Mission Foundation – Budapest Pride