Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Hungary begins new border 'smart-fence'

"Although the EU-Turkey agreement is prevailing and the Western Balkan route is closed, we expect the migration pressure to appear at any moment at our southern borders", Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after meeting with Teodor Melescanu, his Romanian counterpart.

The government says that while the number of migrants seeking to enter Hungary had dropped considerably since 2015, border police still prevent hundreds of people from illegally crossing the border each day. "For this reason, we are strengthening the defense of our southern border".

Hungary has begun building a second fence on its border with Serbia meant to stop migrants and refugees from freely entering the country as a government spokesman confirmed Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

According to the representative of the Hungarian Prime Minister's Department, Janos Lazar, the construction should commence as soon as weather conditions permit, and should be completed by early summer.

The new fence will accompany a previously installed barbed wire barrier, which was erected in 2015 to run along the country's border with Serbia - an overland route used by migrants fleeing to Germany.

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Hungary is making a "mockery" out of the right to asylum, and the European Commission should strongly respond to Budapest's anti-migrant actions, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

Advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights have protested Hungary's decision, as well as other measures including confining asylum-seeking migrants in border camps. "Using transit zones as detention centres and forcing asylum-seekers who are already inside Hungary back to the Serbian side of the razor-wire fence is abusive, pointless, and cruel".

Earlier this month the country announced they were planning to submit a proposal to the European Union allowing for asylum seekers to be detained and kept in special camps until their application is reviewed.

Authorities would also have the power to automatically detain refugees in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, before being deported to the neighbouring country.

Hungary now allows 10 asylum seekers per day into the country, as thousands of potential seekers crowd the Serbian border.

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