Hungary has been slammed by the UN and welfare agencies for its use of water cannon and tear gas against rioting migrants at its closed border on Wednesday. UN Human Rights Commission chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that such treatment was “xenophobic and anti-Muslim” adding that Hungary’s tough handling of the crisis had at times violated international law.
Visiting Budapest, the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, denounced Hungary’s border fence.
“Walls are temporary solutions,” he said, sitting alongside the Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto. “This only serves to divert flows or escalate tensions and I think you all agree with me that violence is not the solution either.”
Avramopoulos said: “There is no wall you would not climb, no sea you would not cross if you are fleeing violence and terror.
“We have a moral duty to offer them protection.”
There has also been strong criticism from international medical humanitarian organisation, Doctors Without Borders. It chose to castigate Hungary even though 14 of its officers were injured in the melee after they were attacked with rocks, bricks and assorted makeshift weapons.
— Doctors w/o Borders (@MSF_USA) September 17, 2015
Despite the criticism Hungary shows no sign of backing down. It is planning to extend its security fence and is urging the EU to do more to tackle the influx at source.
“Let’s establish a common EU force to protect the borders of Greece,” Peter Szijjarto said Thursday.
“We are ready to make a massive national contribution to this. And the EU should take charge of financing refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
“If new camps are needed, let’s finance those as well to provide decent conditions according to international legal conventions and let’s give EU money for that!”
Szijjarto said that the EU’s common refugee policy had failed to tackle the crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people pour into the continent from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
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