Inside Story

Hungary: Building fences, deterring migrants?

Budapest announces plans to build a four-metre high barrier along its border with Serbia.

Hungary is proposing to build a four-metre high, 175 km long security fence along its border with Serbia.

The Hungarian government says it is to stem the flood of illegal migrants seeking to enter.

The move is evoking memories of the Berlin Wall which separated communist eastern Europe from the capitalist west during the Cold War.

The government is making no apology, saying it is necessary to “protect Hungarian interests, adding that even then, it’s still not going to be a completely sufficient measure”.

Budapest is also suspending EU asylum rules which state that migrants’ asylum claims must be dealt with in the EU country in which they first arrived.

Government figures show more than 53,000 people have requested asylum in Hungary so far this year, up from 43,000 for the whole of 2014 and just 2,150 in 2012.

The United Nations refugee agency says Hungary’s proposed security barrier would be a further obstacle for people who have fled from war zones like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq and who desperately need safety and protection.

So is Hungary containing a crisis or pushing the problem elsewhere?

Presenter: Kamahl Santamaria


Gabor Gyulai – refugee programme coordinator at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Jeff Crisp – research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre Oxford

Greg O Ceallaigh – a barrister from Garden Court Chambers in London specialising in human rights, asylum and immigration law