March 13, 2017 / 2:45 PM / 2 years ago

Hunger strike in Hungarian migrant detention center

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Nearly 100 migrants began a hunger strike on Monday at a detention center in Hungary, demanding that they be allowed to leave, the country’s immigration authority said.

The Immigration and Citizenship Bureau said 94 of the 102 migrants in the Bekescsaba camp on the Romanian border were taking part.

“Most of the hunger strikers are under Dublin proceedings as they unlawfully left the country of first entry into the European Union,” the bureau told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“The hunger strikers signaled their demands in writing, primarily complaining about being detained and asked to be allowed to leave,” it said.

“They complained about being fingerprinted as they have no intention to stay in Hungary.”

An online plea for help by “Zanyar Faraj”, claiming to be a spokesperson for the migrants in Bekescsaba, called for better conditions there. It said many inmates were sick and depressed.

“Our lawyers went on a human rights monitoring mission to the Bekescsaba detention camp a month ago,” said Marta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an asylum rights group.

“Most (migrants) come from circumstances that makes it likely they suffer from psychological trauma. As far as we know the situation in the camp is calm for now.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal opponent of the wave of migration into Europe, which he says threatens the socioeconomic makeup of the continent, and his government is building fences to keep migrants out.

Reporting by Marton Dunai and Krisztina Than; additional reporting by Fedja Grulovic in Belgrade; editing by Andrew Roche

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