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Serbian NGO says electric ‘smart fence’ violates human rights

The Belgrade Center for Protection and Help for Asylum-Seekers says Hungary’s move of testing an electrified “smart fence” on the border with Serbia violates European human-rights agreements, BalkanInsight reported yesterday.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Délmagyarország/Schmidt Andrea

“Hungarian [border police] are beating migrants, attacking them with dogs, they are even beating children, and according to statements of migrants, they are periodically turning on the electricity in some parts of the [border] fence,” Rados Djurovic from the Center told BalkanInsight.

However, Hungarian officials insist that the voltage running in the fence is so low it cannot hurt people, and the only aim of the electrified fence is to alert border patrols that somebody is attempting to breach the border, Belgrade newspaper Politika reported.

Still, Djurovic argues such methods contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, which has been signed by Hungary, BalkanInsight says.

“The border management system is providing a suitable level of security against the reconnaissance methods and latest border crossing attempts of people smugglers,” György Bakondi, the Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, said in an interview with state-owned Kossuth radio on Sunday, a few days before the BalkanInsight report.

“Both fences of the border management system use electronic monitoring equipment, including cameras, thermal imaging devices and the intelligent fence alarm system, to immediately sense if the fence is cut and alert border guards, who immediately rush to the scene,” Bakondi said according to official government website kormany.hu. “Accordingly, the Hungarian border management system is providing a suitable level of security against such attempts,” he added.