Hungary to detain refugees in shipping containers along border with Serbia

Hungary to detain refugees in shipping containers along border with Serbia

Hungary’s parliament has allowed authorities to systematically detain all asylum seekers in shipping containers in border areas, a controversial move that is in line with anti-refugee policies adopted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has labelled refugees as a “Trojan horse of terrorism.”

The Hungarian parliament, known as the National Assembly, approved the harsh measures, which also include women and children, on Tuesday, adding that all asylum seekers setting foot on the country’s soil, as well as those who are already inside Hungary, would be held in container camps on the southern borders with Serbia until a final decision is made on their asylum requests.

The harsh rules, which were adopted by legislators from Orban’s ruling Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik party, also alarmed human rights groups.

In a statement issued shortly after the parliament’s decision, Amnesty International censured the new tough measures as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

“Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn’t a refugee policy, it’s avoiding one,” it said. The rights group also called on the European Union, to which Hungary is a member state, to step up against Budapest’s “illegal and deeply inhumane measures.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said the new law “violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered.”
Hungary’s parliament has allowed authorities to systematically detain all asylum seekers in shipping containers in border areas, a controversial move that is in line with anti-refugee policies adopted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has labelled refugees as a “Trojan horse of terrorism.”

The Hungarian parliament, known as the National Assembly, approved the harsh measures, which also include women and children, on Tuesday, adding that all asylum seekers setting foot on the country’s soil, as well as those who are already inside Hungary, would be held in container camps on the southern borders with Serbia until a final decision is made on their asylum requests.

The harsh rules, which were adopted by legislators from Orban’s ruling Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik party, also alarmed human rights groups.

In a statement issued shortly after the parliament’s decision, Amnesty International censured the new tough measures as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

“Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn’t a refugee policy, it’s avoiding one,” it said. The rights group also called on the European Union, to which Hungary is a member state, to step up against Budapest’s “illegal and deeply inhumane measures.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said the new law “violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered.”
According to official figures, some 400,000 refugees crossed Hungary in 2015, but over 18,000 had managed to enter the country last year.

Hungary has also faced increasing criticism from rights groups over its harsh treatment of refugees. Last July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) censured the country for its “cruel and violent treatment” of refugees before forcing them to return to Serbia.

On February 24, HRW also urged the EU to intervene and stop Budapest’s “inhumane” treatment of refugees. “The European Commission should not stand by while Hungary makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum,” said the HRW deputy director Benjamin Ward.

Europe has been facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. Many blame major European powers for the exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and conflicts in the Middle East.

www.theguardian.com

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