Hungarian Ambassador Peter Szabadhegy Defends Treatment Of Migrants

Hungarian Ambassador Defends Treatment Of Migrants

Hungary's ambassador to the United Kingdom has defended his country's treatment of refugees, after the UN Secretary General said he was "shocked" at its behaviour.

Hungarian police used tear gas and water cannons on hundreds of migrants who broke through a razor wire fence on the border with Serbia on Wednesday.

Migrants prevented from moving through Hungary increasingly began taking a longer route into Western Europe through Croatia.

Peter Szabadhegy told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning that the criticism of Hungary was "misplaced".

"Hungary is facing a huge migration crisis, just to put it into perspective, just a year to date there have been 200,000 migrants who have crossed Hungary's border. That is exceeding the size of the second largest city in Hungary," he said.

And he said it Hungary had a right to prosecute refugees who "vandalise fences and attack police".

"They are being prosecuted if they vandalise the fence and go through that way that is not something that is acceptable in any normal country," he said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday: "I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated. It’s not acceptable ... since they are the people who are fleeing the violence and persecution, we must ensure our compassionate leadership."

Hungarian authorities also said Wednesday that they have arrested a total of 519 migrants who tried to cross the border since tough new laws went into effect on Tuesday that make it a crime to cross from Serbia anywhere other than at legal checkpoints.

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