The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Saturday called for an investigation into the circumstances in which a 22-year-old Syrian refugee drowned as he was attempting to cross the Tisza River from Serbia to Hungary.
“The circumstances that led to this tragic death need to be swiftly and thoroughly investigated by the authorities on both sides of the border,” The Deutsche Welle quoted Montserrat Feixas Vihe, UNHCR’s regional representative for central Europe, as saying. Syrian refugee
“Instead of finding safety and sanctuary in Europe, a young man has tragically lost his life,” Vihe added in a statement.
The UNHCR said Saturday that others in the group claimed they were pushed back into the Tisza River from Hungary. The agency is also concerned about allegations of the abuse of asylum-seekers by Hungarian officials, including excessive use of force, AP reported.
The UNHCR said it documented over 100 cases of “excessive use of force as refugees try to enter Hungary” since May, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Boloch said.
Last year, Budapest vowed to curb migration after hundreds of thousands of migrants – many fleeing war in the Middle East, Asia and Africa – transited through the country in hopes of reaching richer EU nations, including Germany and Sweden.
In September, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced Budapest would build a razor-wire fence along a part of its border with Serbia and Romania to prevent migrants and refugees from entering the country.
The UNHCR said Hungarian policies, including razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia, “leave people with little choice but to put their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers, often with tragic consequences.”
The crisis increased after closing the borders of all Balkan Road countries in the face of refugees, leaving them stuck in Greece, with no choices other than trying to cross the borders illegally.