UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke against Hungary’s treatment of migrants seeking to enter the country, saying that firing tear gas and water cannon at asylum seekers was unacceptable.
“I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated. It’s not acceptable,” Ban said at a news conference. He also said that “these were people fleeing war and persecution” and that they should receive a response of “compassionate leadership.”
“We must show them caring hands,” he said. “They must be treated with human dignity.”
Following the government sealing off its border with Serbia, the Hungarian police was engaged in a violent clash with hundreds of migrants. RTE reports that as much as 20 tear gas grenades were fired at the crowd who were chanting and reciting slogans in Arabic in protest. While at least two people were seriously injured, several others required urgent medical attention. Ambulances were called at the border; chaos and haphazardness filled the scene.
The border between Hungary and Serbia is one of the biggest entry points for migrants.
“It’s not a crime to cross a border,” head of the UN refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement. He further emphasized that some of the measures and practices deployed by the Hungarian government was in violation of the international law. He demanded that Hungarian authorities “ensure unimpeded access for people in need of protection in line with its legal and moral obligations”.
Also read: Europe Migrant Crisis: Hundreds Stranded Outside Hungarian Railway Station After Being Denied Entry
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic also criticized the “brutal” behavior of Hungary. He asked that the European Union step in and take control of the situation before it goes out of control. “I call on the European Union to react, for its members to behave in line with European values,” Vucic said. “If the EU does not react, we will find a way to protect our borders and European values as well.”
Almost 277 people had crossed into Croatia from Serbia after Hungary blocked its border, Croatian Interior Minister, Ranko Ostojic, said. “The number is rising. At the moment, 277 people have entered Croatia from Serbia.”
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that he is planning to meet with Austria’s Chancellor, Werner Faymann, to discuss the migrant crisis.
“It is clear that those people don’t want to stay in Croatia,” he said. “They will be able to cross Croatia and we have been working intensively on that. We are ready to accept and direct those people – their religion and skin colour is completely irrelevant – to where they apparently wish to go.”
Four children got separated from their families during the clash between the police and the migrants. They were taken to the nearby border control building, according to right group Amnesty International.
Also read: Special Report: More Illegal Immigrants Attempt To Enter UK, Arrests By Dover Police Increase
As reported by Deutsche Welle, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s homeland security adviser defended their stance of blocking the influx of migrants streaming into the country. “We will employ all legal means to protect Hungary’s border’s security,” the homeland security adviser said. “We will not permit violent, armed, aggressive attackers to enter.” He further said that one of the migrants arrested after Hungary imposed strict border controls was “an identified terrorist.”
As many as 1,300 men, women and children had managed to enter the Balkan nation by Wednesday evening, as reported by Yahoo News. After trains north were suspended, several migrants and refugees started walking towards Germany from the Austrian border city of Salzburg. While Germany, Austria and Slovakia have tightened their border security and controls, countries like Poland and Netherlands are contemplating whether they should follow suit. Hundreds of other migrants have also been left stranded in the Turkish border city of Edirne after more than 1,000 migrants were stopped from entering Bulgaria.
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