UN condemns refugee policies, calls for unity in Europe

United Nations refugee agency denounces restrictions on refugees in European states and calls on Europe to stand in solidarity

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

A man holds a sign reading "Let's be Humans" as he waits along with other refugees to be boarded onto buses, close to Croatia's border with Serbia, in the town of Babska, Croatia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) condemned European countries, including Austria, Slovenia and Macedonia on Tuesday due to their "restrictive practices" imposed on refugees and called on Europe to stand in unity in the ongoing crisis.

"With every passing week, it appears some European countries are focusing on keeping refugees and migrants out more than on responsibly managing the flow and working on common solutions," the agency said in a statement urging countries to provide clear details on the conditions for acceptance.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 100,000 refugees have reached European countries so far this year.

The organisation said in a statement on Tuesday that 97,325 refugees have arrived in Greece while another 7,507 have reached Italy within this year.

Greek deputy minister for migration, Ionnis Mouzalas, said the European Union is failing to deal with solitary actions and “scare-mongering” tactics from individual member states.

Austria had imposed a cap on transit and asylum applications, leading Macedonia to impose restrictions on the weekend.

The action left thousands of refugees stranded in Greece, at the border and the port of Piraeus, near Athens, while regular private services at the border were suspended.

Refugees pass behind a barbwire fence near a collection point in Roszke, Hungary on Sep 11, 2015. (Reuters)

The measures, along with tight patrols and tough punishments, slowed the flow to around a dozen people a day for those attempting to cross.

Hungary also fears the newly introduced daily cap on refugees in Austria could leave thousands stranded in Greece.

Due to increased pressure from far-right opposition groups, Austria announced last week it would only accept 80 refugees a day and allow a total of 3,200 migrants to transit the country annually.

In response to the latest developments, Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia have also tightened their borders.

Meanwhile, Hungary announced it was ready to quickly build a fence on the Romanian frontier if refugees were to make their way towards the country.

More than a million refugees have reached Europe, while Turkey has hosted the most in the world, opening its doors to 2,7 million Syrian civil war victims.

Most of the refugees seeking asylum come from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Austria, Germany and Scandinavia are the main destinations for refugees who have entered Europe with the intention of seeking asylum.

TRTWorld and agencies