94 of the 102 migrants currently detained at a camp in Békéscsaba, Southeastern Hungary, have gone on a hunger strike, demanding that they be allowed to leave the country, according to Reuters and Hungarian wire service MTI.
The self-described spokesman of the migrants, one “Zanyar Faraj,” posted a “distress call to all human rights organizations in the world” about the strike online, calling for improved conditions in the camp and complaining about ill-treatment at the hands of Hungarian authorities.,
In his 7-point list of grievances, Faraj emphasizes that he and his fellow strikers “are refugees, not criminals, we ran away from our country because of war and death”; despite this, they have been imprisoned “without guilt.”
The letter adds that “most of the refugees” are currently suffering from diseases and psychological trauma as a result of their imprisonment; some of them are supposedly suicidal because of camp conditions.
The migrants also protested having been left in the dark for the past six months over their future. They accused the Hungarian government of “trampling on” human rights and waging a “psychological warfare” against asylum-seekers.
Faraj’s letter ends with a “call to all the world to liberate us from this injustice.”
In a written statement to Reuters, the Hungarian Immigration and Citizenship bureau claimed that “Most of the hunger strikers are under Dublin proceedings as they unlawfully left the country of first entry into the European Union,” adding that “The hunger strikers signaled their demands in writing, primarily complaining about being detained and asked to be allowed to leave.”
The Bureau also wrote that the strikers “complained about being fingerprinted as they have no intention to stay in Hungary.”
The news of the hunger strike comes on the heels of an Amnesty International report that was highly critical of the Hungarian government the “most disappointing” in the region in terms of human rights and the country’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. It also comes after the controversy that erupted last week between a Swedish newspaper and the Hungarian government over allegations of police brutality against asylum seekers.
Via MTI, Hungary Matters, amnesty.org, Reuters, and moving-europe.org
Image via behir.hu