Helsinki Committee: Hungarian ejection of refugees illegal

History

Amendments to Hungarian law that went into effect yesterday allow for the extrajudicial “push back” of asylum seekers, in violation of European Union and international law, said local human rights organization Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) in a brief published yesterday.

Tents housing refugees are set up on the Serbian side of the Hungarian-Serbian border as trucks patrol the Hungarian side of the border yesterday.  (Photo: MTI/Edvárd Molnár)

Changes to the Act on State Border and the Asylum Act will permit Hungarian authorities to eject from this country any asylum-seekers who are apprehended within eight kilometers of the Croatian-Hungarian or Serbian-Hungarian, according to HHC’s statement.

EU laws require Hungary to guarantee that every individual requesting international protection has access to the asylum procedure, and it stipulates that asylum-seekers must be allowed to stay on a member state’s territory until their case is reviewed, the HHC statement said. Under the new rules, the Hungarian police would be able to prevent refugees who are stopped near the border from filing an asylum claim without due process, the HHC said.

The treatment of refugees by the Hungarian government has drawn criticism from several human rights groups in recent weeks. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on June 7 alleged in an article that hundreds of refugees are in poor physical and mental condition as they await entry into the EU through Hungary.

An outcry was also raised following a Hungarian government border crackdown on June 1, when a group of refugees was pushed into the Tisza River and a 22-year-old Syrian man drowned.

The Hungarian government will soon assess voter support of refugees, in a referendum that will allow citizens to show opposition to the European Commission’s proposed refugee quota will be held on October 2, as per a decision by President János Áder.

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