5 June 2015

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published a detailed description of the Hungarian asylum system this week. The information in this report was gathered during EASO’s mission to Hungary, which took place following a sharp increase of asylum seekers in the country in the last months of 2014. Over 42,000 people applied for international protection in the country in 2014, with more than half of these applications being lodged in November and December. The main countries of origin were Kosovo, Afghanistan and Syria.

According to data provided by the Hungarian Office for Immigration and Nationality, a total of 4,806 asylum seekers were detained in 2014 – representing 11% of the total number of asylum applicants – and in 2015, 481 people were detained amounting to 1% of the total number. EASO stresses that, according to Hungarian law, families with children can only be placed in asylum detention as a measure of last resort. However, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has recently raised concerns over the frequent detention of families with children at Debrecen detention facility. According to the organisation, this detention facility is not appropriate for the detention of families as children do not attend school, there are no social or educational activities organised, the food is not adequate and there is limited open-air space. 

Regarding vulnerable applicants and applicants with special needs, EASO states that there is no structured mechanism to identify people with special needs and it may be that vulnerable people do not have access to special material reception conditions for a period of time. Furthermore, psychological services in reception facilities for applicants with special needs are provided on a limited basis, EASO reports.

The report also describes other institutional and practical characteristics of the Hungarian asylum and reception system, covering access to procedure, procedures at first instance (including Dublin procedures), and reception conditions.

The statistics gathered by EASO indicate that a significant number of asylum applicants abandon their claims and move on to other Member States. 

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 5 June 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.