Hungarian response to refugee crisis "appalling"

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Refugees in Hungary with all their belongings, during a standoff with police, while refusing to go to an already full registration centre. Photo: UNHCR/ Mark Henley

The treatment of refugees and migrants by the authorities in Hungary has been described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as appalling and in some cases illegal.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was shocked by the images of people being assaulted at Hungary's border with Serbia.

The closure of the main land route for refugees into the European Union has left thousands scattered across the Balkan peninsula seeking alternative points of entry.

Maria Carlino reports.

The images of women and children being assaulted with tear gas and water cannons at Hungary's border with Serbia are truly alarming, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

A new fence on the border has cut off the main point of entry for thousands of asylum seekers trying to enter the European Union by land. 

People are being arrested and in some cases sent back to Serbia.

The human rights chief said the moves are callous and illegal under international human rights law.

Here's Cécile Pouilly, a spokesperson for the High Commissioner.

"This is really, truly shocking. And the High Commissioner today really expressed his deep concern at these actions and attitudes by the Hungarian government in relation to refugees and migrants."

The High Commissioner urged European institutions to resolve the impasse on how to address the refugee crisis and agree to a firm, principled stance.

Over 300,000 people fleeing conflict and violence have arrived in Europe this year alone.

Maria Carlino, United Nations.

Duration: 1'01"

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