Refugee "deportations" along Balkan route criticised by UN

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A young child eats a sandwich next to the tarpaulin that serves as a makeshift shelter, close to the town of Gevgelija, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on the border with Greece (September 2015). Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2015-2191/Georgiev

The deportation of refugees from countries along the so-called Balkan route in Europe has been criticised by the UN human rights chief.

Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and insecurity in Africa and the Middle East continue to travel across Europe on the route which leads from Greece to Austria.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said "chain deportations" were taking place along the route.

He also described the plight of hundreds of Afghans who were reportedly stranded in abject conditions for over five days on the border between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.

Recently, measures were adopted at a meeting of the heads of police of five European countries which Zeid said "seem to be incompatible with the human rights obligations of the countries concerned."

He added that he was "particularly troubled that the agreement appears to enable the collective expulsion of non-nationals, acts explicitly prohibited under international law."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration : 46″

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