Hungary: Refugee Camp Profiles & Maps

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Recently filmed videos and a scathing report from Human Rights Watch on the inhumane conditions inside the Roszke border detention facilities have garnered badly needed attention to human rights violations at the Roszke camps however there are several other refugee detention camps in Hungary.

Below are images and videos (some old, a few new) that we’ve gathered from other refugee detention facilities in Hungary paired with historical data and map locations of each camp courtesy of Hungarian Migrant Solidarity Group, Migszol, who created an interactive map of all refugee facilities in Hungary.

Roszke Refugee Camp Image by Christopher Glanzl

Roszke Refugee Camp
Image by Christopher Glanzl

Kiskunhalas Immigration Detention

This jail in the South of Hungary has been notorious for its guards physically assaulting the detained people. The Helsinki Committee’s lawyer visits the jail once a week.


Debrecen Open Camp and Detention Center

The Debrecen camp is perhaps the best known camp in the country due to its size and the fact that there is both a very big open camp as well as a detention centre within. Currently, the camp is being renovated to have even more capacity. This camp is notorious for problems such as overcrowding, poor food and poor hygiene – also the extreme right wing party Jobbik, that is very strong in this 2nd biggest Hungarian city, has organized many demonstrations against the Debrecen camp.

“No Electricity, jammer, cell phone ban. Communication prohibited. #Debrecen”

A 2012 UNHCR report titled Hungary as a country of asylum listed Debrecen as “problematic”

“The facility in Debrecen is particularly problematic, with residents reporting toilets and bathrooms in poor condition, buildings infested by cockroaches despite regular fumigation, frequent shortages of hot water in the building housing vulnerable persons, insufficient quality and quantity of hygiene packages. There is insufficient attention to dietary needs, lack of flexibility in the provision of meals, and no money provided for those days when the camp residents are outside the camp in Debrecen.”- UNHCR

The 2012 report also cites insufficient medical services in Debrecen, superficial medical exams, lack of specialized service, difficulties repairing or replacing broken glasses, prohibitively expensive dental care, different health problems treated with the same generic medication, medical problems are not fully addressed. No interpretation is provided to facilitate communication with medical staff which significantly reduces the effectiveness of medical care provided.

Read Migszol’s blog entries on the Debrecen camp here


 


Békéscsaba Asylum Detention

The detention center in Békéscsaba has been an open camp as well as a detention center for families in the past. In 2013, detainees rioted against the extremely poor conditions, 60 asylum seekers held a hunger strike and a fire was set in the center.

Photo: BékésIfi.hu article from 2013 fire

Photo: BékésIfi.hu article from 2013


Nyírbátor Asylum Detention & Immigration Detention

There are two detention centers in Nyírbátor; one exclusively for the detention of asylum-seekers and another one for a small number of detained asylum-seekers and for the majority who are people waiting for their deportation (their maximum time of detention can be 12 months). In August 2013 there was a hunger strike that lasted for some days. The asylum jail is visited by the lawyer of the Helsinki Committee once a week. Before 2013, the immigration jail was the most notorious for mistreating and sedating asylum-seekers.

The Hungarian Ombudsman released a report in 2012 about the jail and concluded that the buildings and the regime are inhumane. There are social workers and a psychologist of Menedék Foundation working here and the lawyer of the Helsinki Committee visits the jail once a week.

Nyírbátor Photo: Stiller Ákos

Nyírbátor
Photo: Stiller Ákos

Some of the problems reported by asylum seekers in Nyírbátor which led to the 2013 hunger strike were:

  • Asylum seekers had not committed a crime for which they should have been detained
  • Detained asylum seekers received no information in their native languages as to why they they were detained, how long detainment would last or what would happen after they were released
  • In court hearings, translators only translated the judge’s comments to the asylum seekers but did not translate asylum seekers’ comments back to the judge
  • The attorney paid by the state of Hungary did not speak once in defense of the asylum seekers
  • Protesters complained that there was little access to legal aid in Nyírbátor prison
  • Protesters found worms in their food
  • Only one hunger striker who fainted was taken to a doctor but in a humiliating way and in handcuffs
  • Asylum seekers were denied internet access even after they stopped the hunger strike

Balassagyarmat Semi-Open Camp

A half-open camp for asylum-seekers who already had one final negative decision, and they are awaiting their deportation, but cannot be detained anymore. In other words, some of the people here have already served their maximum time in asylum-detention (six months) or in immigration detention (12 months) and therefore they cannot go anywhere else but to the camp in Balassagyarmat. The people can leave the camp during the day but must return before 10pm. If they return late, even with five minutes, they are made to pay a penalty fine of 10-50.000 HUF (35-200€), which they are unable to do as they have no income nor the permission to earn one.

A 2012 article from hvg.hu states after up to a year of detention, refugees arrive at Balassagyarmat refugee camp where no medical care and poor sanitary conditions. Their stay usually ends with deportation.

“From the outside the building is beautifully renovated. Inside, where no one can see, the walls are crumbling” – Afghan refugee Sammar Rahmani told hvg.hu


Győr Immigration Jail

This immigration jail is the smallest in the country. While Nyírbátor and Kiskunhalas became synonyms for inhumane and brutal jails amongst the refugees, the small size and population of the Győr jail is most probably the reason why this jail does not have such a bad reputation. Menedék is also present here with their community social workers, and Helsinki Committee visits the jail twice a month


Vámosszabadi Open Camp

The Vámosszabadi camp was opened in August 2013 due to the high number of asylum-seekers in Hungary – according to the official OIN statistics, there was a 776% increase between 2012 and 2013. Before the opening of the camp, there were huge protests from the villagers’ side against the opening of this camp. However, since the has opened in August 2013, asylum-seekers have reported about a very casual and supportive atmosphere from the locals.


Bicske Open Camp

Previously a pre-integration centre for recognized refugees, Bicske is the closest camp to Budapest with capacity of ca. 350. Today there are both asylum-seekers and recognized refugees. The Bicske camp gained some fame in summer 2013 when a tent camp was set up within the actual camp. Also, there are several issues with refugees who leave from Bicske becoming homeless.

VIDEO: Bicske refugee demonstrations (2012)

Sources:
Migszol
hvg.hu
UNHCR 2012 Hungary report
aida Asylum Information Database – February 2015 country report on Hungary




About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.