Hungary places ads to warn off migrants

2015-09-21 16:31
Hungary advertisement (AP)

Hungary advertisement (AP)

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Beirut - The Hungarian government on Monday published an advertisement in a Lebanese newspaper warning that those entering the European country illegally could face jail.

"Hungarians are hospitable, but the strongest possible action is taken against people who attempt to enter Hungary illegally," the government warned in the advertisement in the daily An Nahar. 

"The illegal crossing of its border is a crime punishable by imprisonment," said the advertisement, published in English and Arabic.

A new law came into effect last week in Hungary, making illegal border crossing punishable by up to three years in prison. Cutting a newly erected border fence carries up to a five-year sentence.

Lebanon is hosting 1.1 million Syrians, many of them destitute, who have fled the four-year-long conflict that has devastated their homeland.

Tens of thousands of people, many of them from Syria, have crossed through Hungary in recent weeks seeking refuge in Western European countries.

According to UN figures, almost 450 000 people have reached Europe by sea this year, while more than 2 900 have died trying. Many of them are trying to reach countries like Germany or Sweden, taking an arduous overland route once they reach Europe.

Hungary closed its borders with Serbia last week to try to halt the movement of refugees and migrants through its territory.

This month, Denmark also placed adverts in several Lebanese newspapers, warning would-be migrants about new and tougher  restrictions on those arriving in the Scandinavian country.

On Friday, the Danish parliament's ombudsman said he would assess whether those advertisements had been misleading.

A total of 348 540 Syrians had lodged asylum claims in Europe by July, according to the UN refugee agency, while more than 4 million are hosted in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

Another 7.6 million Syrians are displaced internally, meaning that more than half the country's pre-war population of 22.4 million have been driven from their homes by the conflict.

Read more on:    hungary  |  lebanon  |  migrants

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