UNHCR intervenes in Hungaryʼs asylum procedure


The UN refugee agency is “deeply concerned” about proposals to amend Hungary’s asylum act and UNHCR is “urging Hungary not to rush the process without proper consultations with civil society and UNHCR on the legality of the proposals and their consequences for people fleeing war and conflict”, UNHCR said today in a press release.

The Hungarian parliament proposed changes including fast-track screenings of asylum claims without proper due process; sending asylum-seekers back to third countries that may not be safe for them; allowing prolonged detention of asylum-seekers – including women, children and people with special needs, UNHCR said.

The Hungarian parliament is scheduled to meet tomorrow to consider whether the proposed changes can be adopted on a “fast-track basis” before it takes a recess for two weeks in mid-July.

“Adoption of these proposals would have devastating implications for thousands of people seeking safety in Hungary,” said Montserrat Feixas Vihé, UNHCR’s regional representative for Central Europe. “We are asking the Hungarian government and public representatives to ensure that any amendments to its national asylum legislation is in conformity with international and regional protection standards, and is not contrary to those standards.”

“Even before the new proposals, the Hungarian asylum system was becoming more and more restrictive. We fear that the new amendments will make it impossible for people fleeing war and persecution to seek safety in this country,” Feixas Vihé added. “We understand Hungary’s national security concerns, but this should not victimize the victims.”

“Hungary received some 61,000 asylum applications in the first six months of 2015. Around 80 percent of asylum-seekers are currently coming from conflict zones – Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – and many are likely to be in need of international protection,” the press release noted.

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