Hungary to build second line of fence along its border with Sebria

Hungary has begun building a high-tech second fence on the border with Serbia complete with night cameras and heat and movement sensors to keep out migrants, the government said Monday.

Construction of the second fence is already being prepared, and Orban's chief of staff, Janos Lazar, said the government had earmarked 38 billion forints ($130 million, 123 million euros) for both the fence and newly planned migrant camps.

The prime minister oversaw the building of a first barbed-wire fence in 2015, when Hungary was part of the main overland route for refugees entering Europe from parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. "For this reason, we are strengthening the defense of our southern border".

The announcement comes as the European Parliament held a meeting on Monday (27 February) to review the state of fundamental human rights in Hungary.

In 2015 over 400,000 migrants trekked through Hungary, a border of the EU's passport-free Schengen zone, toward northern Europe. Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Benjamin Ward said. "Using transit zones as detention centres and forcing asylum-seekers who are already inside Hungary back to the Serbian side of the razor-wire fence is abusive, pointless, and cruel". The strict immigration policy has left more than 7,000 migrants and refugees stranded in shipping containers in the border camps in Serbia.

But an influx of asylum seekers into Europe over the past year has led to countries such as Austria and Germany to tighten controls on their borders with Hungary and other European Union states.

Orban was one of the only world leaders to endorse Donald Trump's immigration policy and his pledge to build a wall along the US-Mexican border.

Mr Orban's government is now proposing that asylum seekers be kept in the makeshift transit zone for the full duration of the asylum process, and that illegal immigrants caught anywhere in Hungary can be expelled automatically to Serbia.

The construction was criticized by rights groups Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Watch, who sent a complaint to EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday, claiming the fence "made a mockery of the right to seek asylum".

  • Leroy Wright