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AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Video: Hungarian police treat refugees “like animals,” caging them and throwing food

Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Video footage captured at a makeshift refugee camp in Roszke, Hungary, near the Serbian border, shows police throwing food into a chaotic crowd of refugees enclosed within a wire fence.

(View the full video here.)

The incident was filmed by an Austrian woman, Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser, who said the refugees were treated “like animals.” The officers visible in the video appear to be wearing surgical masks and plastic face guards. The footage is from Wednesday (Sep. 9), taken after 2,700 refugees crossed the border the night before.

Peter Bouckaert is the emergency director of Human Rights Watch:

The United Nations refugee agency warned that Hungary faces an influx of 42,000 migrants and refugees in the upcoming days, and is calling for international help to accommodate the needy. Human Rights Watch reports that the conditions in the Roszke camp, where people are being detained for processing in accordance with EU law, are inhumane: “detainees are kept in small clusters of tents in open air pens created by metal fences, often in overcrowded conditions with insufficient bedding and space for the numbers of persons detained in the pens.” They are barely given any food, and when they are, they are not informed whether it is halal, or permissible for Muslims to eat.

One refugee describes the camp:

When we crossed into Hungary the police sent us to a camp that was very dirty, like a place for animals. It was a closed camp and the conditions were horrible. When people tried to escape they were brought back. We slept for two days outside on towels. Nobody made special arrangements for the baby, they gave us no milk and they treated us very badly. They talked to us rudely, and they treated us very inhumanely, like we were slaves.

A Hungarian government spokesman told Reuters the police were looking into the incident, but defended the officers’ conduct:

“I can see policemen who have been performing their duties for months, trying to take care of 23,000 migrants arriving continuously day by day while there is no co-operation whatsoever on their part,” said Zoltan Kovacs. ”I can see they are trying to maintain order among those who are unable to line up for food.”

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