Video: Border guards throw food for refugees in Hungary

Screen grab

Human Rights Watch released video footage on Friday that showed guards throwing wrapped sandwiches into the air for desperate asylum-seekers to catch at a refugee facility on the Hungarian border.


"It was inhumane and it really speaks for these people that they didn't fight over the food, despite being clearly very hungry," said Michaela Spritzendorfer, an Austrian volunteer at the centre who filmed the scenes.

The refugees are being held in fenced-in areas outdoors in the Hungarian town of Roszke.

Peter Bouckaert, director of emergencies for Human Rights Watch, said the asylum-seekers were being "kept in pens like animals, out in the sun without food and water".

The Hungarian government "treats asylum seekers with contempt & brutality", Bouckaert wrote on Twitter. But he noted that Hungarian citizens, on the other hand, "bring them clothes and food".

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been criticised by other EU leaders and human rights groups for what they say is gross mismanagement in housing, feeding and processing the thousands of migrants arriving in his country.

Orban announced on Friday that anyone caught illegally crossing Hungary's borders would be arrested starting next week.

The video is the second to come out of Hungary that has sparked anger over the treatment of refugees. Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo was caught on video kicking and tripping migrants near the Serbian border. She was later fired and offered an apology. Police have released her without charge but say an investigation is ongoing.

Pre-fab homes

Bracing for a continued influx, the UN refugee agency on Friday announced the deployment of hundreds of pre-fabricated homes to central and southeastern Europe to house the new arrivals. UNHCR spokesman William Splinder said the agency estimates that more than 380,000 people have arrived in Europe from across the Mediterranean so far this year. The International Organization for Migration has put the figure at more than 432,000.

A plan to divide the estimated 120,000 refugees who are now in Greece, Italy and Hungary among the EU's 28 nations was unveiled on Wednesday by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The proposal will be debated on October 8 during an emergency meeting of EU interior ministers. An earlier plan to divide 40,000 asylum-seekers among EU nations is expected to get final approval on Monday.

Eastern European countries meeting with German officials in Prague on Friday rejected proposals from Berlin that would require EU countries to take in a set number of migrants.

"We're convinced that, as countries, we should maintain control over the number of those we are able to accept," Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said after the meeting.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

Hungarian border guards throw food for hungry asylum-seekers

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