UNHCR: Shooting incident in Slovakia will be monitored

A full investigation is called for.

Zuzana Števulová of Human Rights LeagueZuzana Števulová of Human Rights League (Source: TASR)

The recent incident at the Slovak-Hungarian border, in which a police patrol tried to stop a van that was smuggling refugees and after the driver tried to run, shot at the car, injuring one refugee has alarmed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Office (UNHCR).

Read also:Shot migrant undergoes operation; condition stable Read more 

The office called for a prompt investigation of the shooting to determine responsibility. The UNHCR is very concerned about this tragic event, the office’s spokesman Babar Baloch told the Dennik N daily, adding that countries do have responsibility for managing their borders but they should execute it in a way which is in compliance with their duty to protect refugees and asylum seekers. Europe needs an increased number of legal routes so that refugees do not have to turn to smugglers and opt for dangerous routes, he summed up. Baloch also informed that the UNCHR is in contact with the hospital and the Slovak offices.

The detention of migrants may be connected with temporary checks on the Austrian-Hungarian border introduced by the Austrians. Human smugglers try to avoid Austria by driving through Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Slovak media wrote.

Zuzana Števulová of the Human Rights League (HRL) who focuses on aiding refugees also stressed the lack of legal ways for refugees. “This causes them to be fully at the mercy of smugglers which can lead to such dangerous situations,” Števulová explained. She also says that after the shooting incident, they recorded many hate comments on the internet. “Some even regretted that the young woman did not die,” Števulová says. “I find this not just sad but also alarming and I hope that police will deal with such comments on the internet. HRL monitors the case: “It is important to duly investigate who is responsible for the injury and whether the action was justified and unavoidable,” Števulová said, according to Denník N. “It is also important from the aspect of where and against whom this woman can apply to compensate the health damage, and it is important to secure for her legal aid.”

The case is being investigated by the Financial Administration Inspectorate , as the officer who shot the woman is its employee.

Read also:Kaliňák defends shooting at people smugglers Read more 

Refugees who flee war and persecution should not face violence when trying to get safely to Europe, the UNHCR claims.

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