Magazine article New Internationalist

A Razor-Wire Welcome

Magazine article New Internationalist

A Razor-Wire Welcome

Article excerpt

HUNGARY

As the Hungarian government races to complete a steel barrier along its 175-kilometre border with Serbia, a small but dedicated group of citizens is offering humanitarian assistance to migrants.

Conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been garnering support for the four-metre-high fence by denouncing multiculturalism and linking migrants to terrorism. Officials argue that the country cannot cope with the swelling numbers of mostly Afghan and Syrian asylum-seekers arriving from Greece. Some 100,000 migrants entered Hungary in the first six months of 2015, compared to 35,000 in the whole of 2014. The vast majority are simply using the country as a staging post in their journey onwards to Western Europe.

But not all are hostile. In the capital Budapest and elsewhere, volunteers self-organize, often under the umbrella of migrant solidarity group MigSzol. They distribute food, water, clothes and information to new arrivals.

Sometimes medical care is also necessary. …

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