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Security chief blames NGOs for migrants at border

Due to misinformation spread by “civil organizations” that Hungary is opening up its borders, more and more “migrants” have set off from Belgrade towards Hungary, György Bakondi, the Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, said on state-owned all-news television channel M1, according to reports.

The fence under construction in southern Hungary (photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Délmagyarország/ Andrea Schmidt).

As another salvo in the apparent battle against civil organizations that Hungary’s governing party Fidesz started with earlier statements about planning to squeeze NGOs tight because of their criticisms of its policies, György Bakondi, Chief Security Advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is apparently blaming NGOs for refugees heading towards the Serbian-Hungarian border. The border has been closed for almost two years by a fence, and refugees have been bypassing the country almost completely ever since, according to reports.

“Desperate migrants are misinformed at this moment, therefore, as they are violently besieging the Hungarian border from the direction of Serbia in groups,” Bakondi said on state television, according to official government website kormany.hu. The security advisor added that these migrants are helped by “human traffickers in every instance.”

The government website quoted Bakondi as saying that migrants are about to leave Serbia because conditions are “relatively bad” there and they “have nothing to lose anymore.” This contrasts with the governmentʼs earlier position in the wake of the refugee crisis in 2015, when it said it would send back asylum-seekers to Serbia because Hungary regarded it as a “safe third country” and conditions in camps there were appropriate.

Bakondi also said that an over 500-strong contingent of border patrol guards - the controversially named “border hunters” (határvadászok) - would take their oaths today to monitor the Serbian border, as this is “still the chief route for migrants.”

Giving an interview this morning on state-owned Kossuth Radio, Bakondi said that 80-100 people are trying to enter Hungary daily from Serbia. When the refugee crisis peaked in 2015 and Hungary had not yet raised the fence, thousands of refugees arrived in the country on a daily basis.

Speaking at a ceremony at which the first wave of the aforementioned “border hunters” took their oaths on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Orbán again outlined his vision of a final bulwark against the potential flood of migrants the government has repeatedly warned about.

“Hungary is one of the safest countries in the European Union, where there is no violence, and where no one drives trucks through crowds,” the prime minister said. “At the same time, this does not mean that such atrocities cannot happen here.”

Orbán claimed that migrants to Europe do not wish to live according to European customs, but to follow their own lifestyles with the standard of living enjoyed by European citizens. According to the prime minister, migrants themselves are also victims - of human traffickers, and of the politicians who lure them here. 

“We understand them, but we cannot let them in,” he added. “Human rights do not prescribe national suicide.”

A total of some 3,000 “border hunters” are being drafted in through the program, bolstering police reserves at the southern border.