As the picture takes shape, we know better what kind of future the refugees will have from next week

As the picture takes shape, we know better what kind of future the refugees will have from next week

Author: András Kósa Original title: Összeállt a kép, mi lesz a menekültek sorsa jövő héttől
Publication: Date: 15:17 07/09/2015

As the picture takes shape, we know better what kind of future the refugees will have from next week

It will be pointless for anyone to come through the border fence, as everyone will be immediately expelled and made to wait in the transit zone next to the border. Hungarian soldiers have learnt a specific way of handling with aggressive crowds on the other side of barbed-wire fence.

Even those who make legal attempts at the legal crossing points will be expelled, because Serbia is ranked as a safe country. This is what is waiting for the refugees arriving from the south after 15th of September.
From next week illegal boarding crossing will be considered a serious crime, not simply a minor offence as it has been before.

“All migrants have to be informed that by coming here and crossing the border illegally, they will be expelled.” – this was highlighted many times by Viktor Orban during the recent speech he made at the meeting for ambassadors. The words of the Hungarian prime minister is effectively a practical guide for the Hungarian authori-ties, in particular for the law courts, on what sort of judgement needs to be followed in relation to migrants.

Last Friday more elements of the legal package were accepted by the Hungarian Parliament, through which the government – as it was declared by Viktor Orban – will ensure secure border defence. The most important part is that in the case of an emergency, the army can be deployed at the borders. In addition, the modification of the Penal Code means that illegal board crossings and damaging the fence will be a crime instead of a minor offence. More details about the forthcoming laws will be provided by the government as they are announced.

After this modification, illegal boarder crossing will be punishable with a maximum of 3 years imprisonment or expulsion from the country. The imprisonment of refugees in the overcrowded prisons was questioned earlier, and actually 18,000 people are currently being held in Hungarian prisons. This is almost 1.5 times more than the numbers who can be officially held under existing regulations. Hungary is criticised regularly by the European Union, European Council and human right organisations for prison over-crowding, and as a result the government has launched a new prison programme.
However obviously, the new prisons would be filled quickly if migrants were imprisoned in large numbers. Not to mention the consequences in national policy terms, as the treatment of refugees has already been a basis for serious criticism, and imprisonment may cause more severe conflicts between Hungary and the other parts of the EU.

Wait in the transit zone
Based on the facts below the only available option is expulsion and sending asylum seekers back to Serbia. Migrants can disagree with that and appeal against the decision and they will have a chance to hand a request in, although they have to wait for the result in the transit zone. At the same time, since Serbia will be labelled a safe country, the results of these appeals are already known. Furthermore, if Serbia is a defined as a safe country, there is no point in trying at the official crossing points either, they will not get asylum. Transit zones, as it is known from government statements, will only offer the option of moving back towards Serbia. Together with the border closure from 15th of September, this is the solution that the government will implement to end of the flow of thousands of people entering Hungarian territory.
Kosovo`s approach to security

There are questions relating to the crowds on the Serbian side of the fence. In Mac-edonia when disturbances broke out 2 weeks ago, the government tried to stop mi-grants with the help of the army, but soldiers gave up trying after riots broke out. According to a government statement we can expect the similar disturbances, and the Hungarian servicemen have already have experience of dealing with this from the KFOR mission in Kosovo. The kind of `crowd control` which they did in Ko-sovska Mitrovica, where they had to suppress conflicts between Serbians and Alba-nians. And this was even without the barbed wire fence and no use of firearms. “I expect the same on the Serbian border too and expect the military can handle the situation” – said the government official.

He added that the use of this method could only be a solution where the numbers are limited, and that against a crowd with more than 10 thousands of people the method could not work.

In addition the diplomatic consequences of the situation, which is verging on conflict along the Serbian – Hungarian border, cannot be ignored, especially if the media is flooded with pictures of crowds consisting of women and children being dispersed by the army.

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