On 9 June 2017, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court published a long-awaited decision suspending a Dublin transfer to Hungary. The leading case concerned a Congolese applicant who had been fingerprinted in Hungary before reaching Switzerland where he applied for asylum.

The Federal Administrative Court ruled that, based on the legal and policy developments in Hungary since 2015, the situation in that country was too uncertain and ordered the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to investigate the existence of systemic deficiencies in the Hungarian asylum reception and procedural systems. The conclusion relied, inter alia, on information contained in numerous reports by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the updated AIDA Report on Hungary, ECRE’s Case Law Factsheet on Preventions of Dublin transfers to Hungary, similar decisions by EU Member States and UNHCR’s call for the suspension of transfers to Hungary.

The potential implication of the decision is that pending cases regarding Dublin transfers to Hungary (around 200 according to OSAR) will likely be sent back to the first instance authority (SEM). However, the Court did not directly instruct the asylum administration to assess all the claims in Switzerland. This decision will be taken on an individual basis. With this decision, Switzerland follows the practice of Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium in recognising the deficiencies in Hungary and ceasing transfers to that country.

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Photo: (cc) 2007 Martin Abegglen