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UN calls on EU states not to return asylum seekers to Hungary

The United Nations in a rare step has called on the European Union (EU) member states to temporarily suspend sending Middle Eastern and African refugees and asylum seekers, including children, to Hungary for assessment due to the dire conditions awaiting them in the central European country.    

The Hungarian parliament, known as the National Assembly, approved a highly controversial law last month, according to which authorities are allowed to systematically detain all new asylum seekers, including children, in shipping containers, surrounded by high razor fences, for the entire length of their asylum procedures in border areas.

The new law, which came into effect on March 28, was adopted by legislators from hardline anti-refugee Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik party.

“The situation for asylum-seekers in Hungary, which was already of deep concern to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), has only gotten worse since the new law introducing mandatory detention for asylum-seekers came into effect,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a statement on Monday.

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