Afghan migrants detained by Hungarian police after being caught on the Hungarian-Serbian border in 2015 Photo: EPA/Szilard Koszticsak
Afghan migrants detained by Hungarian police after being caught on the Hungarian-Serbian border in 2015 Photo: EPA/Szilard Koszticsak

A group of 40 migrants on Wednesday crossed into Hungary by climbing over a three-meter-high border fence. The men, who were from Afghanistan, were caught by Hungarian police and taken back to Serbia.

Hungarian police discovered the group of 40 men on the outskirts of Asotthalom, a town about five kilometers from the border, near the city of Szeged. The migrants were immediately returned to Serbia, police said.

The border fence between Hungary and Serbia was built in late 2015, when large numbers of people were trying to cross into Europe. The number of people using the so-called Balkan route from Greece into Western Europe has since declined. Many migrants have instead used alternative routes through Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, bypassing Hungary.

However, some have continued to try to enter Europe via Hungary with help from well-established smuggler networks in the region. Most who attempt to climb the border fence between Serbia and Hungary are caught by Hungarian authorities and sent back. Large-scale attempts to scale the border fence are uncommon.

The practice of immediate pushbacks of migrants has been criticized by human rights advocates and the UN refugee agency UNHCR. They say migrants are denied the right to apply for asylum and there is no orderly transfer of the migrants to Serbian authorities. Hungary insists that its approach is legal.

 

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