13 May 2016

The Hungarian Office for Immigration and Nationality has recently issued decisions ordering the transfer of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin III Regulation. ECRE member Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) has expressed concern regarding these developments and called on Hungary to continue the suspension of transfers to Greece.

Transfers of asylum seekers to Greece have been suspended since 2011 following rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union, on account of the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment of asylum seekers in the country.

“The HHC find this recent development extremely worrisome: first it is unfair to Greece, which is already struggling to be able to handle the backlog of cases and provide shelter and protection to refugees. Second, it is clear that the situation in Greece for refugees and asylum seekers is still far from the standards required by the European Union. According to information provided by the ELENA network, there is no other Member State which orders transfers to Greece, which shows that the situation is still not assessed as satisfactory,” stated the HHC.

This trend is taking place in an overall rush to dismantle the right to asylum in the country and a more general climate of regression of human rights protection. In a report released by UNHCR this week, serious concerns are raised about the compatibility with international and European law of measures taken recently in the field of asylum: the construction of the border fence, the criminalisation of ‘irregular entry’ and the application of the safe third country concept with regards to Serbia, FYROM and Greece.

Moreover, the Universal Periodic Review at the UN last week revealed the depths of the hostility against media and civil society in the country, and the erosion of freedom of expression, independence of the judiciary, and the asylum system.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 May 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.