Monitoring group says Hungary treats refugees like animals

Human Rights Watch Emergency Director Peter Brouckaert says refugees kept in registration camps surrounded by fences and ‘treated like animals’ in Hungary

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Refugees sit on the ground at a refugee camp in Roszke, near the border between Serbia and Hungary in southern Hungary

Updated Sep 11, 2015

The Associated Press has reported that thousands of refugees who made their way to Europe through Hungary were forcibly kept by police in registration camps, surrounded by fences, barbed wire and police dogs.

Human Rights Watch official, Peter Brouckaert, told AP that Hungary has become a place of absolute humiliation for Syrian people, and for the other people trying to reach Europe they were "treated like animals" in Hungarian registration camps.

According to Hungarian police, 3,300 people who fled from war and poverty in their country, were kept in camps and taken to asylum-seeker centers across the country. They were taken to camps on Wednesday, after crossing the Serbian border and entering Hungary, for the purpose of basic data collection and as well as fingerprints, AP reported.

Brouckaert said, “They are blocked here. They are suffering in the heat. We see children all over the place collapse in absolute exhaustion."

Also speaking to AJ+ at a refugee collection point near the Serbian border, Brouckaert said refugees are being kept in pens and have no access to any medical assistance when they get sick. “It’s simply unacceptable that people are being treated like animals on the doorstep of Europe,” he said.  

He also added that Hungarian authorities should "let these people go to where they want to go, which certainly is not Hungary."

However, Hungary rejected the allegations, saying that refugees at police check points near the border with Serbia and at registration centers are being given provisions and medical attention.

Recently, inhumane treatment towards refugees in Hungary has raised concerns all over the world. On Tuesday, a Hungarian TV camerawoman, Petra Laszlo, was fired after footage was released appearing to show her intentionally kicking and tripping refugees as they ran from a police line at Roszke in the south of the country.

Many end up waiting hours or days at a farm field for buses to take them to a nearby Hungarian registration centre. In recent days, frustrated by delays, large groups have forced their way through police lines to walk north along a highway.

Last week, thousands of refugees began marching north towards Budapest. The government ended up providing 100 buses to transport refugees walking along the highway.

As tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing to Europe, Hungary became a widely used transit country by the refugees trying to reach Germany and other EU countries to seek asylum.  Over 140,000 asylum applications have been registered in 2015 in Hungary. The total number of refugees seeking asylum in the country is expected to rise by 30,000 by the end of the year, over 95 percent of the refugees are from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.  

TRTWorld and agencies