UNHCR report criticizes Hungary’s treatment of refugees

EU

unhcr.org

Legislation and measures implemented following July 2015 had the effect of limiting access to asylum, most notably a measure to erect a fence along Hungary’s borders with Serbia and Croatia, according to a report on this country’s treatment of asylum seekers released yesterday by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

A further limit to an individual’s pursuit of asylum in Hungary is the criminalization of irregular entry into the country through the border fence, punishable by a prison sentence of up to ten years and/or expulsion from Hungary, the report claims. These prison sentences are imposed after fast-tracked trials of questionable fairness, which are not in accordance with the EU Return Directive, the report says. 

The closing of the refugee reception center in Debrecen, which was the biggest in the country, at a time when extra reception capacity is needed, is another worrying development, the report notes.  

The UNHCR says these aspects of Hungarian law and practices “may be at variance with the country’s international and European obligations” and also put into question their compatibility with international and European law. 

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