'We are in very big trouble': Hungary's ex-PM on 'unacceptable' handling of refugees

[16-09-2015 12:54 AM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS -
A former prime minister of Hungary says his country's treatment of refugees is "unacceptable" and fails to "respect their human dignity."
In a one-on-one interview with CTV News reporter Paul Workman, Ferenc Gyurcsany denounced current Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's approach to Europe's refugee crisis.
"We are in very big trouble. Our reputation has deteriorated very much," said Gyurcsany, who is the former leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party.
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Refugees wait in Budapest train station
Migrants wait at the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (Bea Kallos / MTI via AP)
Syrian refugee girl wait for busses in Austria
A girl looks through the fence while she and other refugees wait for buses in Nickelsdorf, Austria Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP / Ronald Zak)
Ferenc Gyurcsany
Ferenc Gyurcsany, former prime minister of Hungary, says that his country's treatment of refugees is "unacceptable" and fails to "respect their human dignity."
Orban, who is leader of the right-wing ruling party Fidesz, has taken a tough stance on the crisis. Hungary was one of the eastern member-nations of the European Union that rejected its plan to institute quotas and spread the massive influx of refugees among countries across the region.
Additionally, the country plans to enforce new harsh immigration laws that would allow for the arrest of anyone found crossing the border illegally.
A barbed-wire fence is also being erected along Hungary's border with Serbia.
Gyurcsany says that Hungarians are "lucky" to be born in a country that is in a "relatively safe position" and that the government has a responsibility to treat refugees, who have fled conflict in the Middle East, with "human dignity."
"It is unacceptable," he said.
"We might have some problems … but giving them normal food, accommodations (and) dealing with them as a normal human being … this is our duty and this government (has not) fulfilled its obligations."
In particular, Gyurcsany says that the construction of a border fence is a "shame beyond question."
He added that its erection is largely a symbolic gesture by Orban aimed at placating the far-right, by showing he can protect Hungary from the rising human tide.
"This is why the Hungarian prime minister would like to represent himself as a very strong man trying to gain new voters from the … right," he said.
For the most part, Gyurcsany says Hungarians fall into two camps: One group is "not very happy about this situation and if they had the opportunity ... they would keep away (the refugees)." The other, which includes himself, wants to help.
"I think this is our human obligation to recognize that they are people … just like us," he said.
Part of the tension that has arisen between the two groups, Gyurcsany says, originates from the worry that the largely Muslim refugees will threaten Europe’s Christian culture.
But Gyurcsany says his compatriots have nothing to fear.
"If we are strong, do we have to be afraid about this one or two per cent of people whose religion is different than us? I don’t think so. We can integrate them," he said.
Gyurcsany says Hungary should start to address the crisis by sitting down with Germany and Austria and arranging for "safe corridors" for the refugees.
Germany has opened its doors to roughly 450,000 migrants so far, and expects to bring in at least 800,000 by the end of the year.
But, most importantly, Gyurcsany says there needs to be a regional strategy.
"It is a question of all of us. There are 28 countries. We need (united) protection of the borders of Europe and we have to allocate and distribute this burden," he said.
"Hungary is the only country saying, 'No, we are not ready to receive even one refuge.' (And) no,

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