Politicians and human rights groups have slammed Hungary for setting up migrant camps along is southern border to detain hundreds of people in shipping containers as the EU came under fire for lack of solidarity over the issue.
The Hungarian parliament, early March, passed legislation allowing for the creation of migrant detention camps along its border, erecting wire fences with surveillance cameras, using shipping containers as migrant accommodation.
“The border protection agencies are fully prepared for the entry into force of the reinforced legal border closure on March 28. The purpose of the restrictions is to prevent migrants with an unclear status from moving freely around the territory of the country and the European Union, and to thereby reduce the security risk of migration,” said a statement by the Hungarian interior ministry.
The president of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left party in the European Parliament, Gabriele Zimmer renewed her criticism of the EU’s current migration policy as interior ministers from member states gathered in Brussels for the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, March 27.
“With the main focus of today’s meeting being on increasing returns and decreasing number of arrivals of people seeking safety in Europe from Libya, the JHA meeting has once again been a missed opportunity to put solidarity at the heart of EU policy on asylum and migration,” she said.
“It also continues to turn a blind eye on the deteriorating human rights situation facing these individuals in the face of growing hostility and xenophobic rhetoric by EU governments.”
”For months now, the EU and member states have failed to provide legal ways during the world’s biggest displacement phenomenon. Nor have they fulfilled their obligations to relocate people in need of protection from Greece and Italy as had been committed one-and-a-half year ago,” she added.
“The latest recommendation of the Commission on returns discussed today by member states totally ignores alternatives to detention and will without doubt result in massive violation of people’s rights.”
The German MEP said she deplored the way the Dublin Regulation — under which migrants must be processed in the country in which they arrive — has left the EU’s southern states to deal with the crisis alone with little help from other member states.
“By not relocating and by exploiting the deeply-flawed Dublin Regulation, EU member states continue to shirk their duties by leaving our southern neighbors like Greece and Italy to take responsibility for the majority of new arrivals whilst barriers and fences are erected elsewhere to keep out non-EU citizens,” Zimmer said.
“Greek authorities, for example, have repeatedly pleaded to the relevant EU authorities for real solidarity and a review of the Dublin Regulation that would end the member state of ‘first entry’ criteria. However, the principle of solidarity remains to be translated into practice.”
“Meanwhile, EU member states want to strengthen cooperation with third countries like Libya where reports of migrants’ human rights violations have been horrendous. Similarly, the controversial deal with Turkey to keep refugees and migrants out of Europe continues.
“The current situation cannot go on. The Dublin Regulation must be reformed towards a system based on solidarity both towards refugees and member states. Member states must stop this race to the bottom in terms of human rights. We demand alternatives to detention. We call for an EU-wide policy which is in full respect of fundamental and human rights of refugees and migrants,” said Zimmer.