2017-04-02 19:07:00

Hungary completes harsh container camps for asylum seekers

(Vatican Radio) Hungary says it has completed two controversial border container camps where asylum-seekers, including children, have to wait until their cases are decided. Besides opening the camps authorities are also cracking down on foreign-backed groups that criticize these refugee policies.      

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:  

It isn't always easy for foreign reporters to record what is really going on near the additional border fence Hungary is building next to other barriers to halt migrants fleeing war and poverty.

Security forces make clear reporters are are not welcome shouting "switch off". 

And those asking asylum are moved into containers. Hungary's Interior ministry now says that prison inmates have been used to put 324 additional shipping containers in the camps built on the Serbian border at the towns of Röszke and Tompa.

Across from Tompa on the Serbian side of the border, farm worker József  Pataky has been picking up personal items left behind by migrants who reached the border fence and failed to get across. He told reporters that "there were times when they used to come in groups of 30 or 40", but since the fence was built "they reach the fence and go back."   


Hungary's harsh migration policies have impacted foreign investors and industries desperately trying to fill tens of thousands of jobs. "It is big challenge to find workers," explained Belgian entrepreneur Bert Quatacker. "If we advertise a position we receive almost no reactions. We try to solve the problem by looking for people who work in other companies," he added.

Hungary's harsh anti-migration policies come while the right-wing Fidesz government has been accused of undermining basic democratic norms and harking back to the country's totalitarian past for launching an offensive against perceived liberal media and non-government organizations criticizing its refugee policies. 

At the centre of the furore is 86 year-old Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros whose Open Society Foundations are active in 100 countries. Pressure is growing on the Hungarian government to withdraw a draft bill on higher education that could lead to the closure of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, which was founded by billionaire Soros. 

The U.S. State Department and dozens of academics in Hungary and abroad have urged Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government to ensure the CEU’s independence and operations.

Orbán, who once received a Soros-funded scholarship, has defended his policy saying that foreign universities cannot mislead their students and should work according to Hungarian laws.

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