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EU Court: Hungary Failing to Fulfil Obligation to Protect Asylum-seekers

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.12.17.

Hungary has failed to fulfil its obligation under EU law to grant international protection to illegal migrants from third countries, the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg ruled on Thursday.

The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over the transit zones established along its southern border and its changes to refugee procedures in 2015. According to the EC, Hungary failed to provide guarantees against holding asylum-seekers in detention unlawfully in the transit zones as well as guarantees concerning procedures under which illegal migrants were expelled.

In its Thursday ruling, the court said Hungary had failed to provide full access to international protection because illegal migrants in the transit zones “were in practice confronted with the virtual impossibility of making their application” for asylum in Hungary. Member states must ensure third-country citizens an opportunity to apply for asylum “as soon as they declare their wish” to do so, including at the borders, the court said.

Hungary Confining Migrants to Transit Zone Not Unlawful, says European Court of Human Rights
Hungary Confining Migrants to Transit Zone Not Unlawful, says European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights, acting as a secondary court, has ruled that Hungarian authorities violated some rules in the case of two asylum seekers, but said that confining them to the transit zone at Hungary’s southern border was not against the law. The two Bangladeshi nationals applied for asylum in Hungary in September […]Continue reading

The court also established that applicants had been required “to remain in one of the transit zones for the duration of the procedure for examination of their application”, adding that it “constitutes detention” under the EU’s Reception Directive “without observance of the guarantees which must normally govern it”. The court rejected the Hungarian side’s argument that deviation from the Directive was justified by the migration crisis, in which consideration was given to public order and domestic security.

The court rule that Hungary also failed to meet its obligations under the Return Directive, as the country’s rules allow for forcible removal of illegal entrants from territory. Neither did it make it possible for applicants to stay in the country until an appeals procedure was completed, the court said.

UN Urges Orbán Gov't to Withdraw New Asylum Law
UN Urges Orbán Gov't to Withdraw New Asylum Law

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a statement expressing concern about a newly adopted law in Hungary, effectively requiring asylum seekers to make their application at Hungarian consulates in a neighboring country rather than at the Hungarian border. The Orbán government rendered the stance of the agency as an attempt to disable […]Continue reading

According to the court’s ruling, restricting access to international protection, unlawfully detaining asylum-seekers in transit zones, and escorting illegal migrants back to the border “without prior compliance with the procedures and safeguards provided for in that directive” altogether constitute infringement of the EU’s laws.

Featured photo illustration by Tibor Rosta/MTI


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