UN slams Hungary over refugees blockade

Hungarian authorities only allow approximately 7-8 asylum applications per week, says UN official
BUDAPEST, Hungary: Hungary’s harsh stance has made it impossible for refugees to find asylum in the country, a UN agency official said Monday.
Erno Simon, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Hungary, told Anadolu Agency that refugees can only initiate asylum procedures from two transit zones at Roszke and Tompa, along Hungary’s border with Serbia.
Simon said the Hungarian authorities only allow approximately 7-8 asylum applications per week, adding that such limitations are harsh.
According to Hungary’s Immigration and Asylum Office (BMBAH) figures, only 1,781 refugees reside in the country.
“A few months ago, there were more than 400 people in total at the two transit zones of Roszke and Tompa, but now this number is under 200. The transit zones have much higher capacity than these figures. However, the steps taken by Hungary have made it impossible for asylum seekers to file their applications,” he said.
He also dismissed a statement by Hungarian Minister Jano Lazar that there are no asylum seekers at the border.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, thousands of people are waiting to file asylum to enter Hungary from Serbia.
Simon said: “The refugees are actually being punished by Hungary for filing for asylum. Additionally, the biggest concern for us is the fact that children between the ages of 14 and 18 without a guardian, as well as a few months old babies along with their parents are kept in custody.
“There are even children born at the transit zones…Children should never be placed behind razor-wire fences and should not be taken into custody at all. This is unacceptable.”
He further criticized the increasing number of anti-refugee and Islamophobic incidents in Hungary.
In 2015, Hungary installed razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia to stop the refugee flow.
Additionally, it implemented harsher penalties, including jail time for illegal crossings and announced a state of emergency in its border areas.–AA

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