Europe

UNICEF alarmed by effect on children of Hungary's asylum law

  • FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo a man carries a child to board a train at a station near the village of Zakany, Hungary. UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, says it is alarmed by the new Hungarian law allowing the detention of all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children older than 14, in border camps made of shipping containers. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)

    FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo a man carries a child to board a train at a station near the village of Zakany, Hungary. UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, says it is alarmed by the new Hungarian law allowing the detention of all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children older than 14, in border camps made of shipping containers. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo a man carries a child to board a train at a station near the village of Zakany, Hungary. UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, says it is alarmed by the new Hungarian law allowing the detention of all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children older than 14, in border camps made of shipping containers. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)

    FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo a man carries a child to board a train at a station near the village of Zakany, Hungary. UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, says it is alarmed by the new Hungarian law allowing the detention of all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children older than 14, in border camps made of shipping containers. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)  (The Associated Press)

UNICEF, the United Nations' children's agency, says it is alarmed by a new Hungarian law allowing the detention of all asylum-seekers, including unaccompanied children older than 14, in border camps made of shipping containers.

UNICEF's regional director in Europe, Afshan Khan, said Thursday that asylum detention "effectively criminalizes children. ... The impact of this on any child, no matter their age, can last a lifetime."

Khan also appealed to Hungarian President Janos Ader "to treat all children as children first and foremost" before signing the law.

Numerous international agencies and human rights advocates have been very critical of Hungary's new asylum rules, approved Tuesday by lawmakers. They can be applied in a state of emergency due to migration, currently extended until Sept. 7.