The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has banned Hungarian authorities from transferring eight teenagers and a pregnant woman from a refugee asylum near Budapest to the transit zone along the Hungary-Serbia border “to be detained”, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee reported on Tuesday.
The procedure at the Strasbourg court was initiated by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee last Friday, with regard to Hungary’s new border regulations taking effect, under which “obviously vulnerable clients in need of special treatment” could have been transferred from open camps to closed facilities in the transit zone. In its ruling, the Strasbourg court put questions to the Hungarian government, to be answered before April 10, as to the timing and legal basis of such transfers, the committee said in its statement. The court also wants to know if services are in place to meet special requirements in the transit zone, if asylum seekers are granted opportunities to study or have access to medical services; are minors to be ensured the same conditions as adults, and if so, is there a legal basis.
Under a government proposal passed into law on March 7, asylum seekers can only submit their applications for such status personally, and in the transit zones at times of an “emergency caused by mass migration”. Applicants, with the exception of unattended minors under 14, are not allowed to leave the transit zone for other parts of Hungary before their applications are processed. The amended rules also apply to asylum seekers whose procedures were under way before the rules took effect, with the exception that they are allowed to leave the transit zone before their cases are closed.
György Bakondi, chief security advisor to the Prime Minister, voiced incomprehension over the ECHR ruling, and said that the Hungarian authorities had not passed any decision over the 8 teenagers and the pregnant woman, therefore “we do not know what decision we should not implement”. He also noted that the ruling was not a verdict but a temporary measure by the Strasbourg court.
Later on the day, Bakondi told public television that the number of attempted illegal entries by migrants has fallen dramatically ever since enforcement of the beefed-up law on illegal migration. The double border fence and “legal border seal” have thwarted attempts to enter the country, he said. Bakondi warned of double standards in judging the containers provided for migrants in the transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, noting that containers were welcomed by the press as a humane solution when France abolished the Calais tent camp. The EU border agency Frontex is monitoring the Hungarian border closely, and their report published “a few weeks ago” gave a positive evaluation of Hungary’s border agencies, Bakondi added . Refugee status was granted to 500 people in 2015, to nearly 400 in 2016 and to 35 in 2017, he said.
Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) also ruled against Hungary regarding the detention and deportation of two Bangladeshi asylum-seekers. Read more about it here.
EU Commissioner Avramopoulos visits Budapest
Meanwhile Dimitris Avramopoulos, European commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, has paid an official visit to Budapest.” The issues of migration and security are by now not only European challenges but global ones too, and no single country can handle them alone, he insisted, after talks with Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér and Justice Minister László Trócsányi. Two years ago scattered initiatives on how to handle the migration wave were put forward, he said. Now, however, there is a comprehensive approach and Hungary is a part of this, the commissioner added.
Interior Minister Sándor Pintér said they agreed that European security should be fortified, but on the matter of crossing the so-called green border they lacked complete agreement. He added that an understanding emerged on coming to a joint standpoint on the issue by the summer. Justice Minister László Trócsányi said he had responded to questions about the necessity and proportionality of Hungary’s new laws related to migration, adding that the government was open to dialogue.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI