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Czech police stop marking refugees with numbers

By AFP   |   03 September 2015   |   1:23 pm  

PHOTO: returnofkings

PHOTO: returnofkings

Czech police said Thursday they had stopped marking the hands of detained refugees with numbers after sparking an uproar among human rights groups, lawyers and media organisations.

Officers will from now on use “special wrist bands containing identification data,” Czech police said in a statement on their website.

“The police is sensitive to criticism that has appeared in the media.”

Police used markers on Tuesday to write numbers on the hands of 214 refugees, mostly Syrians, detained in the southeast of the country on trains arriving from Austria and Hungary.

Interior ministry spokeswoman Lucie Novakova told AFP the move was introduced “to prevent the children from getting lost” and keep families together.

But the measure raised eyebrows as it recalls Nazi Germany’s practice of marking the arms of death camp prisoners with numbers.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said Thursday the police officers in the southeastern town of Breclav had to “work fast and under stress” when asylum seekers arrived in the middle of the night.

The Czech Republic has become a transit country for migrants travelling to wealthier EU states like neighbouring Germany.

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will meet in Prague on Friday to deal with the refugee crisis.



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