1st LD Writethru: State of Emergency goes into effect in two Hungarian counties

September 16, 2015 6:05 am 

BUDAPEST, Sept. 15 — A Hungarian government decree declaring a State of Emergency caused by "mass immigration" took effect around noon on Tuesday.

The decree covers two Hungarian counties, Csongrad in the southeast and Bacs-Kiskun in the south. Csongrad abuts the Serbian and Romanian borders, while Bacs-Kiskun is on the Serbian border.

The decree contains a sunset clause, automatically expiring on March 15. However, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the State of Emergency would remain in place "as long as necessary."

Under emergency regulations, asylum seekers can be arrested and subjected to summary judgment, meaning that they can be returned to Serbia in a matter of hours. The State of Emergency also facilitates the prosecution of any Hungarians suspected of helping asylum seekers.

Kovacs said the stringent laws and the sealed border would minimize "illegal migration." Hungary, he said, was adhering to the European Union's Schengen border control specifications and was apparently the only country in the EU doing so.

Gyorgy Bakondi, chief security advisor to the prime minister said two transit zones were open and asylum-seekers could submit their requests at either. If the requests are rejected, he said, they could appeal, but only from Serbia to which they would be returned. Bakondi said the return to Serbia did not qualify as deportation since the transit zones were officially no-man's-land. People were free to leave the transit zones at any time, he added, but only towards Serbia.

According to news portal index.hu, Hungarian authorities were rejecting applications routinely on grounds that Serbia was a secure place so the person had no true asylum claim. In response, refugees have begun a hunger strike as more and more appear at the border.

Bakondi reported that during the first part of Tuesday, police had taken action in 60 cases of illegal border crossing. Forty-five people had cut through or climbed over the fence on the Serbian border, so charges had been pressed. (PNA/Xinhua)

RMA/EDS

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