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Migrants Are Treated Like Cattle, Human Rights Watch's Peter Bouckeart Says

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now the refugee crisis has grown severe enough that even one of the nations welcoming refugees is clamping down. Germany imposed temporary border controls on Sunday. Germany up till now has been a major refuge. Other European nations have been less willing to take in Syrians and others. And those in Hungary have been stuck in camps for weeks in many cases. A new video highlights their situation.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

INSKEEP: You can hear the crowded conditions in that camp, recorded there by Human Rights Watch. The group's emergency director Peter Bouckaert said people were being held like cattle in pens.

PETER BOUCKAERT: It's conditions which really are not even fit for animals.

INSKEEP: Bouckaert says many of the refugees are Muslim and have dietary restrictions which include not eating pork.

BOUCKAERT: They are actually given very little food, it's just a sandwich with some pieces of bologna on it. And bologna is traditionally made with pork, so the refugees refuse to eat it. And literally at some of the camps, the guards just come with a bunch of sandwiches and throw them in the air for the refugees to catch.

INSKEEP: Now, when we spoke with Peter Bouckaert, he was outside Keliti Train Station in Budapest. Hungarians were stopping by and donating clothes and diapers and food for the migrants.

BOUCKAERT: I was sitting with a mother and her baby, and people were coming up and giving her money, and she just kept refusing the money because she said I'm not a beggar.

INSKEEP: Later that night, Bouckaert met a couple and their three young children standing in the rain.

BOUCKAERT: They're from the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under control of the Islamic State. They had to flee because the Islamic State is hunting for police officers, and the father of the family is a former police officer.

INSKEEP: Bouckaert says he took the family back to his apartment. He put them up for the night, and the next morning they boarded a train bound for Austria. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.