September 15, 2015 / 1:43 PM / 4 years ago

Hungary's new border rules 'alarming': UNHCR

A policeman takes a picture of a folding ruler near a border crossing from Serbia near Asttohatolom, Hungary September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

ROSZKE, Hungary (Reuters) - Elements of Hungary’s new border rules are “really alarming”, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday, expressing concern at the time devoted to assessing asylum seekers and their return to Serbia.

Erno Simon, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Hungary, cited Hungary’s decision to designate Serbia as a “safe third country” for refugees to be sent back to and criminal punishments for asylum seekers caught crossing the border illegally.

He also questioned Hungarian statements that authorities would deal with asylum requests in a matter of hours, which he described as a “very small period of time” for such complex cases, while denying them official access to the country. “There are many details of the new law, the new legislation, which are really alarming,” Simon told Reuters.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Alison Williams

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