Shortage of water, scorching sun and ridiculous assessment procedures at Röszke

Author: Anna KERTÉSZ Original title: Röszke 2015.09.15.
Publication:  Refugee Crisis Hungary , Photo:MTI-Sándor UJVÁRI Date: 16:30 15/09/2015

Shortage of water, scorching sun and ridiculous assessment procedures at Röszke 

There are nearly a thousand people waiting at the closed border crossing at Röszke, while Serbian authorities continue transporting more refugees by bus from the Macedonian border. This means that by this evening there might be several thousand people stuck in the area between the Serbian and Hungarian borders. Refugees are looked after by a few Serbian and Hungarian volunteers and the Serbian Red Cross; there is already a shortage of food, water and tents and blankets for the night.

Hungarian volunteers were not allowed to cross the border to deliver their donations today. Heat is a problem during the day, as there is nowhere to shelter from the sun. There are many weak, dehydrated children and ill adults, and only a few doctors to treat them – reported Nóra Köves, human rights expert of the Eötvös Károly Institute, who went to Röszke with lawyers of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee to help refugees appeal against refusal of their claims.

On average a hundred claims are processed every day, most likely with a negative outcome. If a refugee applied for asylum in Serbia, a safe third country, that is a reason for refusal; if not, that’s a reason for refusal too. Interpreters are there to help, but injunctions are in Hungarian and they are rather difficult to understand. The right to appeal within seven days at Szeged High Court is granted, but refugees cannot get there from Serbia, as the injunction also specifies that in the next 12 months they may only enter Schengen territory with a special permit. The lawyers of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee are trying to resolve this contradiction somehow. Should their appeal be lodged, the refugees have to spend the time it takes to process the appeal in a refugee camp. This is a problem, as Hungarian camps have become famous for being overcrowded and inhumane. Most refugees would prefer to travel on to other countries.

Nóra Köves says that there are a lot of police officers, the razor wire fence is scary, the place is crowded, there are no supplies, it’s hot and refugees are uncertain as they get no information, yet everything is peaceful near the border; the only thing that reveals tension is the constant sound of crying children. On the other hand, a few hours ago journalists reported increasing tension, hunger strikes, and refugees preparing to break out of the camp. The press were recently banned from the zone in order to “keep them from inciting refugees”.

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