30 May 2014

In Hungary, asylum seekers lodging an application for international protection for the first time are frequently detained, an information note published today by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) shows. HHC found that in the beginning of April 2014, over 40% of adult male first-time asylum seekers were detained in asylum detention, which is a maximum 6-month long detention regime in place since July 2013

According to the HHC, alternatives to asylum detention that exist in Hungarian law are only applied on an exceptional basis. Also, decisions ordering and upholding asylum detention lack individualised reasoning with regard to the lawfulness and proportionality of detention, and fail to consider the individual circumstances, including vulnerabilities, of the person concerned. Furthermore, according to HHC the automatic judicial review of asylum detention is clearly ineffective, as it lacks individualised decision making and hardly ever results in the release of the asylum seeker.

The HHC highlights that despite being forbidden by Hungarian law, there are indications that unaccompanied asylum seeking children are detained for long periods together with adult detainees, due to the lack of proper state-funded age assessment mechanisms. The report further notes that detention centres are ill-equipped to accommodate vulnerable persons.

The information note includes the situation of asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. Asylum seekers returned to Hungary under the Dublin procedure whose asylum applications had been rejected at the first instance in Hungary have no access to an effective remedy to challenge the negative decision once they are returned to Hungary.

Detailed and up-to-date information regarding the Hungarian asylum system, including the asylum procedure and reception and detention conditions, is available in the AIDA Country Report on Hungary, which is compiled by the HHC and published by ECRE.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 May 2014.
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