Hungarian NGOs promote refugee inclusion through football13 July 2016

Afootballday-longinitiativebroughttogetherover100peopleinBudapest,Hungary, tomarktheWorldRefugeeDayandpromotetoleranceandtheinclusionofrefugeesinthecountry,afteritsauthoritieshavebeencriticisedforthehandlingoftherefugeecrisis.

NGOs, activists, migrants, refugees and the general public were in attendance at the event organised by the NGO MigSol (Migrant Solidarity) and the Fare partner Foundation Subjective Values, on 26 June, at the Fido Park in the Hungarian capital.

The event consisted of a five-a-side tournament and a social gathering with food and music for all participants and attendees. Named ‘Free Kick For All‘ the tournament aimed at showing the equal contribute and importance of each person to the Hungarian society and to protest against the scapegoating of refugees.

Attila Raffael member of Közmunkás-Szocmunkás Válogatott, one of the nine participating NGOs, said: “Our message today is that we have to help each other, that we belong together, and that we cannot be enemies and instil hate.

“This is the most important message and football converges it.”

László Murányi of the association AVM – A Város Mindenkié explained: “We play against each other but this is a friendly game. Socially disadvantaged people, ethnic minorities minorities, migrants, homeless people, we are all here together to show to the people in power that we are not going to turn against each other.”

Hungary has been criticised for the handling of the refugee crisis and for erecting barbed wire and metal fences along its borders with Serbia and Croatia in the autumn of 2015, after nearly 400,000 refugees crossed the frontier on their way to Western Europe.

Violent scenes broke out in Hungary also last year when the crisis hit full swing, evoking outrage and allegations of heavy police tactics toward new arrivals. Thousands protested against the Hungarian authorities’ stance on the refugee crisis.

International NGOs and human rights organisations have called on leaders of the European Union and Hungarian authorities to do more to help refugees crossing its boarders.