Keynote "Campaigning in a refugee-free zone"
Following the tragic events of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, started to speak about the need to tighten the refugee protection system. In May he launched a National Consultation on „Migration and terrorism”. The infamous anti-refugee billboard campaign appeared countrywide.
In June the „border closure” was announced and in September 2015, after having finished building up the 175km long fence along the Serbian border, Hungary closed the Southern border and criminalised illegal entry. Two months later the Croatian fence was also finished, the border closed. In October 2016 Hungary will have a referendum on the relocation quota accompanied by the anti-refugee billboard campaign again.
Based on research in April only 1% of the Hungarian population was xenophile, whereas 53% were xenophobic, and 46% "thinkers". The lowest results in Hungarian history. Currently Hungary is practically a refugee-free zone with widespread lack of support for refugees or asylum-seekers and extremely high xenophobia.
Amnesty International Hungary wants to tackle this incitement to hatred against asylum seekers and refugees and aims to enforce that the right to seek asylum is respected in Hungary.
In March it launched its “Life Without Borders – give refugees a chance” campaign. We want Hungary to be a more tolerant society, where more people stand in solidarity with refugees by stepping over their own boundaries, internal borders. The campaign is built up by a variety of campaigning tools and interactive events. It is also part of Amnesty's regional campaign on the rights of refugees and migrants and will run until the quota-referendum in October.
Orsolya Jeney has been the director of Amnesty International Hungary since 2010. Prior she was the campaign coordinator of the organisation.
By inspiring people to take injustice personally and by mobilising the humanity in everyone Amnesty International seeks to bring the world closer to human rights enjoyed by all. There is a lot of injustice happening against asylum seekers and refugees in Hungary, launching a counter campaign was imperative.