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UN Refugee Agency Criticises Hungary’s Migration Policies In Report

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2016.05.13.

Hungarian legal measures are restricting access to the right of asylum and it is “uncertain” whether trials against those caught crossing the country’s state borders are fair, a report published by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has claimed.

In the report, the world refugee organisation objects to illegal border crossing through the border barrier on the county’s southern frontier being declared a criminal offence and argues that prison sentences for migrants caught doing so are handed out based on accelerated and questionably fair trial, which are not suspended even if the migrant in question applies for asylum in Hungary.

Those facing court prodecures in the matter can be hit with a custodial or suspended jail sentence of up to ten years and can be expelled from Hungary, according to the report.

Legal measures put in place by Hungary during the refugee crisis, in July and September 2015 and their implementation in practice between July 2015 and late March 2016 had a “deterrent” effect on asylum-seekers, UNHCR claims in the report, which also criticises the country’s anti-immigration fence erected on its southern borders with Croatia and Serbia, as well as transit zones established to evaluate asylum applications. Neither asylum procedures nor terms of the acceptance of applications comply with European Union and international standards in these, the UN Refugee Agency says in the report, while also hitting out at the shutdown of Hungary’s largest refugee reception centre in Debrecen.

Due to the aforementioned concerns, it is “questionable” whether Hungary meets its international and European obligations in the field of refugee policy, the UNHCR claims in its report.

photo: Szabolcs Dudás/