Hungary: Children separated from families by police amid border chaos
At least nine people including at least four children separated from their families by Hungarian police during the breach of a border fence in Röszke must be immediately released and reunited with their families, said Amnesty International today. Their exact whereabouts is unknown but they are thought to have been taken to a nearby border control building.
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“The families are desperate to be reunited with their children. Not only have they experienced the traumatic journey to the border and the use of force by the police – they have now lost the security of being with their parents. The Hungarian authorities must immediately hand these children over to their families,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, who is at the scene.
The incident happened after refugees surged forward and broke through a border fence. The police initially responded with the use of pepper spray and panic ensued. Some people ran from the scene while some women and children lay on the ground.
Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the Hungarian police picked up a mother and child and took them away. One father of an eight year old child told Amnesty International:
“My child was taken from me as I was holding his hand and we’ve been separated ever since.”
Amnesty International saw the Hungarian police walk up to another father of two of the children aged six and eight, who was seeking assistance to help locate them. The police pushed him and a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) staff member and prodded them with a baton in their backs.
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