Hungary: iaIGO Denounces the Mistreatment of Refugees by a Camerawoman

Hungary: iaIGO Denounces the Mistreatment of Refugees by a Camerawoman 10 September 2015

The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (iaIGO) condemns the abusive treatment of refugees by a Hungarian video journalist while also been concerned about the welfare refugees arriving in Hungary.

Footage of a Hungarian TV camerawoman kicking refugees, including children, has gone viral on social media and the internet. In the 20 seconds video, the lady known as Petra Laszlo who works for N1TV – a local TV channel – was seen tripping a man sprinting with a child in his arms, and kicking two running child in three separate incidents. The scenes took place as hundreds of refugees broke through a police barrier at a collection point in Roszke, southern Hungary close to the Serbian border.

Petra Laszlo is thought to have links with the country’s far-right Jobbik party which is known for its anti-immigrant views, and has been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. Despite the construction of a razor-wire fence along its perimeter and constant anti-immigrant statements from its government, Hungarians have given up trying to stop people crossing its borders.

 iaIGO denounces the abusive treatment of the camerawoman against these refugees and views it as a violation of the rights of these persons under local and international humanitarian laws. Under the Hungarian Penal Code, Petra Laszlo could face charges of violence against a member of the community, which could carry a prison sentence of up to five years. Also, Article 31 and 33 of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention prohibits member states from imposing any penalties or expelling a refugee in any manner whatsoever who illegally enters into their territories.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of refugees mostly from Syria and Iraq have crossed over from Serbia into Hungary. On their arrival at the borders, they are prevented by Hungarian police officers from entering into the country. Many of them are forced to camp in open fields, while the Hungarian authorities wait for space in reception centers across the country. These refugees do not have only to deal with the exhaustion of the risky and long journey but equally have to handle the human stress from the local frontier police and abusive persons like the camerawoman. Having fled violence and persecution in their home countries and making perilous journeys to be miss-treated or refused entry at the borders possess a great concern for the welfare of refugees amid a massive influx of refugees to Europe.

Therefore, iaIGO calls on Hungarian authorities to swiftly investigate the content of the video footage of the camerawoman kicking refugees and to hold her accountable for the unjust treatment. iaIGO equally urges the Hungarian government to recognize their obligation under international human rights laws and to allow access of and provide resettlement opportunities to refugees reaching their borders. iaIGO further calls on the UN and the internal community to provide urgent assistance to the growing number of refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries into Europe.