Doctors Without Borders reports alarming incidence of violence at Serbia-Hungary border

Undocumented migrants beaten and abused before being pushed back from Hungarian border, says official

Talha Ozturk   | 05.08.2022
Doctors Without Borders reports alarming incidence of violence at Serbia-Hungary border


Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday that signs of torture were seen on the bodies of hundreds of undocumented migrants who were pushed back from the Hungarian border to Serbia.

MSF has recorded accounts from patients who were systematically beaten, humiliated, and abused at the border for attempting to seek safety in the European Union, the humanitarian organization said in a report.

"Every week we see several patients—including children—with severe bruising, deep wounds, cuts, dislocations, and fractures," said Andjela Marcetic, an official at MSF's Serbia office.

The report said MSF mobile medical teams have treated 423 patients since 2021 January.

"The physical injuries we treat in medical consultations are consistent with the testimonies of patients who describe violent beatings at the hands of Hungarian police prior to pushbacks to Serbia. While we can treat some of the wounds, we are also concerned about the long-term repercussions of such trauma on their psychological wellbeing," said Marcetic.

She added that most of the cases follow a similar pattern of beatings, denial of access to basic needs, verbal harassment, including racial slurs, and humiliation.

According to MSF, they have treated 1,844 patients in Serbia since they began their operation in 2014.

Hungary shut its border to Serbia after the arrival of hundreds of irregular migrants.

Hungary was the first EU country to build a border fence in 2015 to control the flow of refugees before sealing its frontier with Serbia.

North Macedonia and Slovenia also built fences to control refugee movements in 2015.

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