Fence in Hungary to seal border with Serbia "deeply concerning"

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Cécile Pouilly of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights speaks to journalists during the regular press briefing organized by the UN Information Service in Geneva. UN File Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The announcement by the Government of Hungary that it is preparing to erect a four-metre-high fence to seal its 175-kilometre border with Serbia has been described as "deeply concerning" by the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

If adopted, OHCHR says the measure may prevent asylum seekers, who could be in need of international protection, from accessing Hungarian territory.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Such harsh border enforcement measures may force migrants to adopt more risky routes and modes of transport, putting them at greater risk of abuse by traffickers and smugglers, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

It also highlighted the need for European governments to display leadership and compassion in their migration policies.

Here's Cécile Pouilly, Spokesperson for OHCHR.

"We reiterate our concerns at the anti-migrant xenophobic rhetoric that is being disseminated by the Hungarian Government, most recently through an anti-migration billboard campaign.  One of the Government's posters reads: "If you come to Hungary, you cannot take away Hungarians’ jobs."

Ms Pouilly added that such assertions contradict the evidence that migrants, particularly low-skilled migrants, are needed in European labour markets, doing the difficult jobs that no one else wanted to do. 

In May, OHCHR publicly criticized a questionnaire on immigration sent by the Government of Hungary to its citizens, in which unfounded links were reportedly sought to be made between migration and terrorism.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″

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