3 December 2015

The updated AIDA report on Hungary documents how the country’s asylum system was overhauled over the summer of 2015 through a series of legislative reforms.

Hungary adopted a list of ‘safe countries of origin’ and ‘safe third countries’, designating countries such as Serbia as safe and declaring as inadmissible all applications of asylum seekers coming through Serbia. These constitute the overwhelming majority of claimants in Hungary. This rule is also applicable to persons returning to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation.

Moreover, since 15 September 2015, the amended Asylum Act provides for a border procedure in transit zones; this procedure can last as short as one hour in certain cases, after which asylum claims are summarily rejected as inadmissible. Transit zones, made up of container constructions, where asylum seekers are detained, were set up at border-crossing points on the Serbian and Croatian borders in September and October 2015, when the respective borders were closed.

The new rules pose undue restrictions to accessing protection in the country and diverge from numerous provisions of the EU asylum acquis as detailed by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee: for example, the obligation of non-refoulement, the obligation to guarantee access to the territory and to the asylum procedure, the right to a fair, individualised and in-merit examination of the asylum claim and the obligation to ensure an effective remedy.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 December 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.