On May 14 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a judgement in a case concerning the placement in the transit zone on the border between Hungary and Serbia declaring it unlawful detention. On May 21, Hungarian authorities moved 300 people to semi-open facilities and declared that the transit zones will be abolished.
In two joint cases requested by Hungarian judges concerning asylum seeking families represented by ECRE member, Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) held in the Röszke transit zone at the Hungarian-Serbian border, CJEU ruled that placement in the transit zone constitutes unlawful detention. The transit zones have been in place since 2015 and thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained.
Following the judgement Hungarian authorities released approximately 300 people, including families with minor children, held in the transit zones on the Hungarian Serbian border and transferred them to open or semi-open facilities. In a statement on the judgement HHC stated: “the CJEU’s judgment will put an end to the automatic and unlawful detention of asylum-seekers in Hungary. The two families concerned by the judgment have been detained unlawfully for 464 and 526 days. Their suffering and injustice must now come to an end after this court judgment. This is a significant victory for everyone who is locked up in metal containers behind barbed wires in Hungary”. The organisation further notes that: “This judgment will also have a significant impact in the coming discussions on the future of the European asylum system as it reinforces essential human rights and asylum safeguards”.
According to Hungarian media the governments position remains unchanged and minister (of the Prime minister’s Office), Gergely Gulyás states that it “disagreed with the ECJ’s judgment and considers it a risk to Europe’s security”. However, the Hungarian government confirms that it is: “obliged to comply with the rulings” and will abolish the transit zone.
For further information:
- ECRE, CJEU: Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic failed to fulfil obligations under Council Relocations Decisions, April 2020
- ECRE, Hungary: Parliament Approves indefinite Rule by Decree Despite Widespread Protests, April 2020
- ECRE, Hungary: Proposed Law to Extend the State of Emergency Indefinitely, March 2020
- AIDA, Country Report Hungary, 2019 Update, March 2020
- ECRE, Shots Fired, Arrests and Violent Push Back Reported at the Serbian Hungarian Border, January 2020
- ECRE, Hungary: Commission Takes Next Step Regarding Non-provision of Food in Transit Zones, October 2019
- ECRE, ECtHR: Freedom of the Press to Report on the Living Conditions in Reception Centres, October 2019
- ECRE, Hungary: Government Extends the “State of Crisis due to Mass Migration”, September 2019
- AIDA, Hungary: New police department takes over responsibility for asylum, 19 June 2019
- ECRE, Hungarian Helsinki Committee Update Reveals Continued Violations in Transit Zones, April 2019
- ECRE, Hungary Gives Afghan Families ‘an Offer You Can’t Refuse’, May 2019
- ECRE, Hungary: Constitutional Court fails to give sufficient protection to people and organisations working to protect the rights of asylum seekers, March 2019
- HHC/ECRE, Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry, 8 February 2019
- ECRE, Editorial: Any opposition is too much for Orbán, 1 June 2018
Photo: (CC) Rebecca Harms, May 2016