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Croatia slams Hungary’s unacceptable refugee policy

Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (AFP)

Croatia has slammed Hungary’s behavior toward refugees as “unacceptable,” adding the Hungarian mechanism will not stop the influx of desperate people striving to reach Europe.

“For me Budapest’s policy is totally unacceptable, from the human point of view,” Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday after visiting a migrant center in the eastern part of Croatia, close to the Serbian border.

Hungary, which lies on the path of many desired refugee destinations in prosperous European countries, sealed its border with Serbia on September 15, prompting thousands of refugees to move to Croatia which, in turn, started redirecting them to the Hungarian border.

“They (Hungarian authorities) are considering closing border crossings. But how will they stop people? Shoot at them? Deploy the army?” the Croatian premier asked.

Reports say approximately 300,000 refugees have entered Hungary so far this year. Hungary’s attitude in dealing with the issue of the asylum seekers refugees has raised worries.

Hungarian police arrest a young refugee at the country’s border with Serbia, September 16, 2015. (AFP)


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over Hungary’s handling of the recent refugee influx in a September 26 meeting with Hungarian President Janos Ader on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, a UN statement said.

The UN chief said he “understood the challenges faced by Hungary” but stressed the “importance of respecting dignity and human rights in addressing these issues,” according to the statement.

Budapest built a razor-wire fence along its entire borders with neighbors, after sealing off its border with Serbia, in a bid to keep refugees out.

The Hungarian police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesting refugees, who seek to enter the country.

Thousands of refugees, mainly from Syria, which is suffering from foreign-backed violence, continue to arrive in Europe on a daily basis, risking their lives by taking boats from Turkey to Greece in the hope of reaching wealthier EU states such as Germany by traveling overland through the Balkans.

So far this year, nearly half a million people have undertaken the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, official figures show. Some 2,800 have died en route.

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