The Latest: Hungary's president signs disputed asylum law

The Latest: Hungary's president signs disputed asylum law

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 16, 2017 at 10:50 a.m.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Hungary's president has signed a disputed law allowing all asylum-seekers, including children older than 14, to be detained in border container camps.

According to the parliamentary website, President Janos Ader signed the bill on Wednesday, a national holiday in memory of Hungary's 1848 revolution against the Habsburg empire.

Ader's endorsement of the bill came despite pleas for a veto from numerous human rights groups.

The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, said the decision was a "deep disappointment for all those children ... who will be affected by this new law. Detention is never in a child's best interest."

The new law is part of the Hungarian government's "legal border closure," a series of regulations which — together with the fences built in 2015 on the borders of Serbia and Croatia — are meant to keep migrants out of the country.


3:30 a.m.

Hungary's foreign minister is using a threat by Turkey to scrap a migration deal with the EU to renew Hungary's condemnation of EU migration policies.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Thursday that the EU's "unreasonable and failed" policies are to blame for the deteriorating migration deal and that it was wrong to base Europe's long-term security exclusively on the agreement.

Szijjarto also blamed Brussels for failing to strengthen the defense of the EU's southern borders during the relatively calm period offered by the deal with Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Thursday to no longer take back migrants who have crossed illegally into Europe.

Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has built fences on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia to stop the flow of migrants.


11:30 a.m.

The European Union's statistical agency says more than 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the bloc last year, mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.

In data released Thursday, Eurostat said first-time applications for international protection were slightly down on numbers from 2015.

But the figure is almost double the 562,700 people who applied for asylum for the first time in 2014.

Of those arriving last year, around one third — 334,800 — were from war-torn Syria, while 183,000 Afghans and 127,000 Iraqis also sought sanctuary.

Eurostat says 60 percent of applications were filed in Germany, followed by Italy with 10 percent. Applications dropped markedly in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary.

It said around 1 million files were still being processed at the end of last year.

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