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  • Refugees make their way after crossing the border at Zakany, Hungary, Oct. 16, 2015.

    Refugees make their way after crossing the border at Zakany, Hungary, Oct. 16, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Hungary's Parliament approved the systematic detention of all asylum-seekers in camps on the border on March 7.

Hungary said Monday it was ready to begin detaining asylum-seekers in camps on its southern border with Serbia after passing a law this month that has drawn criticism from human rights groups and the U.N.

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Hungary's Parliament approved the systematic detention of all asylum-seekers in camps on the border composed of converted shipping containers on March 7.

Starting Tuesday, asylum-seekers entering Hungary as well as those currently in the country will be confined in camps at its southern borders while their applications are processed.

"The border protection agencies are fully prepared for the going into effect of the reinforced legal border closure on March 28," said a statement by the Interior Ministry.

"The police, the defense forces and the Immigration and Asylum Office have made the necessary preparations for the implementation of the required measure."

The ministry said the purpose of the restrictions is to "prevent migrants with an unclear status from moving freely around the territory of the country and the European Union and to thereby reduce the security risk of migration."

The move was part of policies by hardline anti-immigration Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a strong admirer of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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The government said that 324 shipping container homes have been installed at two separate locations called "transit zones" built into a fence that Hungary erected along its 110-mile-long border in 2015.

EU member Hungary previously systematically detained all asylum applicants but suspended the practice in 2013 under pressure from Brussels, the U.N. refugee agency and the European Court of Human Rights.

The UNHCR slammed the new rules and said that systematic detention will "have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered."

According to refugee rights group the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, some 400 asylum-seekers are currently housed in the country's internal camp network and now face relocation to the border camps.

A second "smart fence" complete with night cameras, heat and movement sensors, and multilingual megaphones warning against crossing the barrier is also under construction, with completion scheduled for May.

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