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Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

  • Henry Ridgwell

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. Thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

With more than 1,200 refugees and migrants packed on board, another train arrives at Croatia’s border with Hungary to offload its desperate human cargo.
In the past month, more than 50 trains like this have ferried migrants across Croatia. A new fence is being built on the Hungarian side of the frontier. Until that is finished, these migrants are being allowed through – and onward to Austria and beyond.

Hosting his Croatian counterpart in Budapest Wednesday, Hungary’s president, Janos Ader, defended his country’s handling of the crisis.

He said the two countries agreed this migrant crisis was a humanitarian and criminal issue and a national security question.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic backed Hungary’s call for stronger border controls across Europe.

Barbora Cernusakova of Amnesty International said Budapest has broken international human rights laws and European Union legislation.

“Hungary, by sealing off its border with Serbia, and by introducing accelerated asylum procedures at the border, which results in summary rejections of all the applicants and their return to Serbia – to return to a country where there is inadequate reception facilities. Then we are concerned about the fact that Hungary is criminalizing entry through the border fence,” said Cernusakova.

Amnesty said Hungarian police also used excessive force against migrants the day after it closed the border with Serbia last month – firing tear gas and water cannon at the crowds.

Human rights groups said the refugee crisis exposed the worst of Europe’s divisions on immigration. Addressing the European Parliament Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed for unity.

EU ministers agreed Thursday to step up deportations of failed asylum seekers.

They hope it will stem the flow of thousands of economic migrants, arriving alongside the refugees fleeing war and persecution.

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