(Texte en français après le texte anglais)
Thousands of migrants went into tiny Slovenia on Saturday as an alternative route opened in Europe for them after Hungary closed its border for their free flow, adding another difficulty in their way to save their existence from wars and poverty toward what they hope is a better life in Western Europe.
- Refugees are streaming into Slovenia, diverted overnight by the closure of Hungary’s border with Croatia, in the latest demonstration of Europe’s disjointed response to the flow of people reaching its borders.
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) 16 Octobre 2015
Amnesty International is calling on the EU member States and institutions to prevent further escalation of human rights violations in Hungary by activating the preventive mechanism foreseen under Article 7(1) of the Treaty of the European Union. The mechanism allows the European Council to issue a warning to member states where there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of the respect for the rule of law and human rights.“The EU has the power to trigger formal discussions with Hungary over its appalling treatment of refugees and migrants and send a clear message that ‘enough is enough’ to those States that disregard EU and international law. The EU should do this before it is too late,” said Iverna McGowan, Acting Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Scrutiny of the human rights situation in Hungary has repeatedly fallen through the cracks, with member states and institutions endlessly passing the buck on who is ultimately responsible for upholding human rights in the EU. This gap must be urgently bridged with a stronger response to human rights violations by EU member States and institutions alike.”
Hungary’s rightwing government declared its southern frontier with Croatia off-limits to arriving migrants, blocking entry with a metal fence and razor-wire just as it did a month ago on its border with Serbia.
Croatia began directing people west to Slovenia, which said 300 had arrived and would be registered before continuing their journey to Austria and Germany, the preferred destination of the vast majority, many of them Syrians fleeing war.
But their movement has slowed, with dozens of buses lined up at Serbia’s border with Croatia as police controlled their entry. Slovenia suspended rail traffic with Croatia.
Aid agencies are concerned about backlogs of refugees building in the Balkans as temperatures drop before winter.
Hungary said it had reinstated border controls on its frontier with Slovenia, effectively suspending Europe’s Schengen system of passport-free travel. Both Slovenia and Hungary are part of the Schengen area while Croatia is not.
A government spokesman said Budapest had taken the step because “migrants appeared” on the Slovenian side of the border.
Slovenia says it can accommodate up to 8,000 migrants per day. Both Ljubljana and Zagreb say they will not restrict the flow as long as Austria and Germany keep their doors open.
Hungary has in turn said it is duty-bound to secure the borders of the European Union from mainly Muslim refugees who it claims threaten the prosperity, security and “Christian values” of Europe.
Budapest is among several ex-communist members of the EU that oppose an EU plan to share out 120,000 refugees among its members. That is only a small proportion of the 700,000 migrants expected to reach Europe’s shores by boat and dinghy from north Africa and Turkey this year.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) 17 Octobre 2015
At a summit in Brussels on Thursday, the EU offered Turkey a possible €3bn (£2,2bn) in aid and the prospect of easier access to travel visas and “re-energised” talks on joining the bloc if it would help stem the flow of migrants across its territory.
But Hungary said this fell short of its demands, which include formation of a common force to protect the borders of Greece, where most migrants arrive across the Aegean Sea from Turkey before heading north through Macedonia and Serbia.
— EPP (@EPP) 15 Octobre 2015
Asked what would happen if Germany was to close its doors, Croatia’s interior minister warned of a “domino effect”. “It will be a lot of trouble for all countries and I cannot predict what will happen in this situation,” Ranko Ostojić told reporters at a migrant camp in the eastern Croatian village of Opatovac. “They are risking their lives and nobody is able to stop this flow … without shooting.”
Français: Après avoir fermé sa frontière avec la Serbie, la Hongrie a fait de même avec la Croatie, samedi, afin de stopper le flux de migrants. Ces derniers risquant de transiter par la Slovénie, Budapest a aussi mis en place des contrôles à ces frontières. La Hongrie a fermé, dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi 17 octobre, comme annoncé, ses principaux points de passage des migrants à sa frontière croate, dont de larges sections sont désormais bloquées par une imposante clôture de barbelés, ont constaté des journalistes de l'AFP. Trois points de passage sont concernés sur toute la longueur de la frontière entre les deux pays.
Image source: Twitter caption